Skip to main content

Guest post: 50 Untranslatable Words from Around the World

Hi everybody!
I remember my promise to you about the linguistic side of the Translation Forum Russia conference and I am going to keep it. One thing I learned throughout the past couple months is that I'm probably never going to be completely free to write a blog post, and that's probably a good thing! So I will use whatever spare time I have to update this blog. The post about the conference will be the first to come, but I will also share more about my day job, and the amazing colleagues we are working with, like Nancy Matis. I will do my best to publish new articles regularly (or as regularly as I can)!


Today I would like to share a guest post written by Rachel Campbell from Morningside Translations. It's going to be about 50 words untranslatable into English. Enjoy!

Language is a truly remarkable thing in that around the world, you can find thousands of unique, complex variations, each of which offer a way for people to communicate and enjoy a conversation together.

English is one of the world’s most spoken languages and yet, even with well over 1 million words making up this popular way of communicating, there are all kinds of words which stem from other languages, that cannot be translated into English. From indescribable emotions to particular acts of doing things, stunning sights to personality traits, there are plenty of people speaking the languages from all over the world, who have a particular way of saying things, that sometimes cannot be explained or described in one word in English.

While there thousands, if not millions of words that fall into this category, here are just 50 of these untranslatable words, highlighted in an infographic by professional translation company, Morningside Translations. The original post is here.


Note from Olga: As I was looking through the infographic, I noticed word No. 50. The thing is, for some reason there are quite a few English-language resources mentioning this word, but I have never heard it, and you will not find it in Russian dictionaries. In some EN resources it says that this word is a neologism. Well, in this case it must be really new and used by a handful of people somewhere far, far away... If you speak any of the other languages mentioned in the infographic, please check if words in those languages are correct. I surely hope so!

About the Author: 
Rachel Campbell is a content writer for MorningTrans.com who provide specialist global translation services. Rachel specialises in writing content to promote the legal translation services offered by Morningside Translations.

Popular posts from this blog

10 interesting facts about the Russian language

In my previous post I promised to follow with the  interesting info about some other languages. So here are 10 facts about the Russian language which might be of interest to those who are studying it. If you would like to have this list in Russian, please contact me and I will send it to you by email. So, what do I find interesting about my native language?

1. Russian has about 500,000 words, but only 2,000-2,500 of them are used frequently. 100 most frequently used words make 20% of all written and oral speech. A high school graduate's vocabulary usually has 1,500 to 4,000 words. Those who have graduated from a higher educational institution normally have a richer vocabulary consisting of approximately 8,000 words.
2. It's compulsory for all astronauts in the international space station to learn Russian, so we can call it an international language of space :)

How to Reply To a Negative Feedback About Your Translation

We are humans and we screw up many times!

And receiving a negative feedback about your translation work if one of them.

As translation professionals, we work daily with people from different cultures and backgrounds. So, it is quite important to keep a level of etiquette while we do our business communication.

Whatever your years of experience or your educational background, there are times when daily life affects our business badly. It is how we react to these situations what makes a big difference between professional translation service providers and those who are not.

I was lucky enough when I started my translation career back in 2004 to read about the “A Complaint Is a Gift” business book and receive my training by a true professional Arabic translator.

My colleague taught me the tactics of a professional’s reply to a negative feedback and the book mentions the bright side of receiving a complaint about your work. If the client does not like your work, he can just move to anothe…

Guest post: Where is Marketing Translation Heading in 2017

2016 was some year! It was a year when the breakneck speed of globalisation got a bloody nose, first from the Brexit vote in Britain and then the U.S. Presidential election shock result. In many parts of the world it felt that the trend towards greater communication and business expansion worldwide might slow down, even contract as communities in many countries signalled their discontent with being left behind. Could this affect the translation industry in 2017? It seems unlikely at this stage. 2016 saw a big spurt in the need for translators and there seems no signs of this slowing down in 2017. So what are the trends on the horizon, especially for marketing translation in 2017?
More demand for video translators Marketing is using the power of video more than ever. As consumers demand ever increasing amounts of data access and are using their mobile devices to make choices over buying preferences, video marketing has an ability to sell products in a more lifelike way than still imag…