30 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages (Illustrated).

We know for a fact that language and culture are intricately intertwined that one influences the other in tremendous, and sometimes amazing, ways. It is this intertwining that makes translations from one language to another extremely difficult. You can only translate words and concepts that exist in both cultures. Cultural subtleties that are not shared by other cultures will often get lost in translation.

This is why other languages will always have words that your language don’t and vice versa. Taking English as a reference, New Zealand-based designer Anjana Iyer compiled an amusing list of words that do not have an equivalent in English. She even drew lightheaded illustrations to help us understand what they mean beyond words. Have a glance and let us know what you think.


1.  Fernweh (German)

2. Komorebi (Japanese)

3. Tingo (Pascuense)

4. Pochemuchka (Russian)

5. Gökotta (Swedish)

6. Bakku-shan (Japanese)

7. Backpfeifengesicht (German)

8.  Aware (Japanese)


9. Tsundoku (Japanese)

10. Shlimazl (Yiddish)

11. Rire dans sa barbe (French)

12. Waldeinsamkeit (German)

13. Hanyauku (Rukwangali)

14. Gattara (Italian)

15. Prozvonit (Czech)

16. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)


17. Papakata (Cook Islands Maori)

18. Friolero (Spanish)

19. Schilderwald (German)

20. Utepils (Norwegian)

21. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)

22. Culaccino (Italian)

23. Ilunga (Tshiluba)

24. Kyoikumama (Japanese)


25. Age-otori (Japanese)

26. Chai-Pani (Hindi)

27. Won (Korean)

28. Tokka (Finnish)

29. Schadenfreude (German)

30.  Wabi-Sabi (Japanese)


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One thought on “30 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages (Illustrated).”

  1. number 28 Tokka – are you sure that is Finnish?
    I would rather say

    Sámi

    Sámi languages (/ˈsɑːmi/ SAH-mee[4]), in English also rendered as Sami and Saami, are a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sámi people in Northern Europe (in parts of northern Finland)
    The Sámi people have the Reindeer.

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