Exotic names, done cheap

How do you name characters that are outside your cultural milieu?  Let’s say you have a character, a Greek woman.  What will you name her?  Leaving out the usual deities, that is.

-Try a phone directory!  Lots of names, unfortunately they are all in Greek.  You could, if desperate, transliterate them to the Roman alphabet.

-International clubs that have membership lists.  These could be clubs you belong to, or clubs that have membership lists open to the general public.  For example, the International Association of Cytology.  They have Greek members, and the list is in Roman letters!  I usually use the American Physical Society, of which I used to be a member, which sent out its entire membership listing as a searchable database on CD.  You do have to weed out the expat members working in foreign countries, but you can usually find at least a few of each country to give you ideas.

-Find a cultural club or organization connected to the area in question.  Alas, searching on “Greek Societies” gets you a lot of fraternity houses.

Be aware that there could be cultural implications to naming that aren’t obvious to outsiders.  For example, a Sunni Muslim would not have the name Ali, but a Shia could.  It has a religious affiliation connotation impossible for Muslims to ignore.

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