ABC of impossible words in translation Part 2

ABC of impossible words in translation: Part 2

After our first set of untranslatable words, here are another 20 untranslatable words in different languages.

After our first series of untranslatable words, here are another 20 which, if they appear in marketing translation, in financial translation, in medical translation or in any other translation, will cause the translator so many problems…

  • A for Abbiocco (Italian)

Drowsiness caused by too heavy a meal.

  • B for Bakku-shan (Japanese)

To mean a woman who is beautiful, but only from behind (from the Englishback and Germanschön).

  • C for Culaccino (Italian)

The mark left on the table by a cold drink.

  • D for Desenrasscanco (Portuguese)

The ability to quickly improvise a solution

  • E for Erdera (Basque)

Any language other than Basque (what the ancient Greeks called “barbaric” in reference to the sounds produced by foreign languages).

  • F for Fernweh (German)

Nostalgia for distant countries or countries that you have never been.

  • G for Gokotta (Swedish)

To get up early in the morning to listen to the first birds singing (in reference to gok-otta, the “cuckoo in the morning” that is heard during the feast of Easter, which is celebrated in Sweden by going early in the morning to listen to the birds singing in the woods).

  • H for Hakamaroo (Easter Island)

To borrow something and not return it until its owner demands it.

  • I for Insight (English)

Perspicacity, vision, penetration, in-depth knowledge, preview, idea…

  • K for Koselig (Norwegian)

Objects, situations or news, which is nice, cozy, friendly or even comfortable.

  • N for Nekama (Japanese)

A man pretending to be a woman on the internet.

  • P for Pochemuchka (Russian)

Someone who asks a lot of questions.

  • R for Rugelje (Frisian)

To pour a solid substance like sugar or flour into a container.

  • S for Schnapsidee (German)

The idea, generally under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which at first seems great but ends up being stupid.

as well as Saudade (Portuguese)

To feel nostalgia for a place, person or time in the past, present or future.

  • T for Tsundoku (Japanese)

The act of buying a book without reading it and leaving it stacked with other books that haven’t been read either.

  • U for Utepils (Norwegian)

Beer that is drunk outdoors.

  • V for Vedriti (Slovenian)

To get out of the rain temporarily.

  • W for Wabi-sabi (Japanese)

The way of life that focuses on the search for beauty in life`s imperfection and the peaceful acceptance of the natural cycle of growth and decay.

  • Y for Yakamoz (Turkish)

The reflection of Moonlight on the water

  • Z like Zalatwic (Polish)

To cope, illegally but with positive connotations.

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This article has been written by Mathieu

Mathieu was born in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. After studying Literature and Linguistic Research, he moved to Argentina where he is currently a translator and a web editor.