Have you ever said to someone “How do you say ____ in X language?”
If you have, chances are you’ll have been met with one of three responses:
1.) “In X language you would say ____”.
2.) “Sorry, I don’t know”.
3.) “There’s actually no translation for that”.
Today I’m going to be focusing on response #3: Untranslatability.
Certain words have no one direct translation and instead depend on several words, or even full sentences, to get their meaning across. Here are 10 examples of “untranslatable” words for you:
-Schadenfreude German meaning the feeling of satisfaction derived from another person’s misfortune
-Prozvonit Czech & Slovak meaning to call a mobile phone and only let it ring once so that the other person rings you back and you don’t have to spend any of your money (sneaky, but I like it!)
-Cafuné Brazilian Portuguese meaning to tenderly run your fingers through someone’s hair
-Dépaysement French meaning the feeling (of disorientation) that comes from not being in your home country (I definitely relate to this one!)
-Saudade Portuguese meaning the nostalgic feeling of longing for someone or something that you love and which is lost
-Torschlusspanik German meaning the fear of diminishing opportunities as you age/time running out
-Razlyubit Russian meaning the feeling for someone you once loved but no longer do
-Tartle Scottish meaning to hesitate while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name (trés awkard!)
-Waldeinsamkeit German meaning the feeling of being alone in the woods
And finally, surely the cutest untranslatable word ever:
-Koi no yokan Japanese meaning the sense one can have upon first meeting another person that the two of them are going to fall in love (AWW!!)
If you know any other “untranslatable” words, then share them below (with a quick definition please!)
Until next time, tschüss!