As every professional translation agency will know, translating between languages isn’t always straightforward. Each language comes with its own differences regarding its semantic, linguistic and grammatical features, leading to many terms and phrases being ‘‘lost in translation’’. The reality for individuals working in translation is that quite often, certain words and phrases are untranslatable. There may be no direct translation for the word that they’re looking for, as the word, unfortunately, doesn’t exist in the language that they’re translating into. There are plenty of untranslatable words and phrases in other languages – so let’s take a look at twenty unique and untranslatable words for feelings from twenty different languages.
Meaning: A wish that they’ll die before another particular person does, because it would be intolerable to live without them.
Word: ‘Ré nao’
Meaning: A fun place or situation that has an amazing vibe that makes everybody want to be there.
Meaning: Being agonised by the sudden sight of your own despair.
Meaning: The feeling of fondness when spending time with loved ones.
Word: ‘Ei viitsi’
Meaning: Feeling lazy and not being bothered to do anything.
Meaning: Getting butterflies in your stomach when something romantic happens to you.
Meaning: When you’re not in your own country, feeling like a foreigner and feeling out of place.
Meaning: When you keep eating, despite being full because the food tastes amazing.
Meaning: Feeling connected to nature when alone in the woods.
Meaning: When you are joyful that something great has happened to someone else.
Meaning: Refers to when someone has an intensely strong desire to live life to the fullest and continue living.
Meaning: When you are feeling drowsy after eating a huge meal.
Meaning: When you hear an unfunny joke told so badly, that you cannot help laughing.
Meaning: Finding beauty in imperfections.
Meaning: The euphoria that you feel as you fall in love.
Meaning: When you are longing for someone you’ve lost, that you love.
Meaning: Feeling sad and longing for somebody you love, with the need to sing sad songs.
Meaning: A person asking far too many questions.
Meaning: When you feel at one with the universe, derived from the simplest of pleasures.
Meaning: When you get together to talk for hours and hours and have a break from everyday life.
In the polyglot world, untranslatable words from around the globe present a huge challenge for professional translators; but an exciting challenge that they’ll relish.
Have you ever come across any unique, untranslatable words? Do you know any words for emotions in other languages?