Beautiful collages depict untranslatable words


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I understand what we mean when we say “untranslatable.”

But isn’t it ironic that, inevitably, we immediately translate the word.

We use more than one word to communicate the idea, and often have to put even those words in context, but the idea conveyed by the “untranslatable” word is finally well explained.

Which is to say, it’s been translated :smirk:




Love the images, but like many art websites, the website layout itself is dire.

Not only do the descriptions not line up with the images at all, they’re not even listed in the same order! Gah! :slight_smile:


Incidentally, “Lítost” is pretty much the exact emotional opposite of Schadenfreude. It’s when you go “Oh ;-(” instead of “Ha! Ha! >:D”


It’s not “untranslatable” it’s that it has no English (or other language) equivalent. “Taco” is, in this sense, “untranslatable”; rather, I think it’s “it doesn’t have a cultural equivalent” and until the culture has adopted it, it’s hard to use the word in conversation locally.


There’s no such thing as an untranslatable concept. We all have a human brain architecture after all. But if you’re doing a translation at all, you’re probably translating sentences/paragraphs/dialogs where you can’t just insert an aside every time a word without an exact equivalent comes up. Especially if it is a word that gets used many times, not having a brief equivalent is a problem. In that sense, it is untranslatable.

Also arises when a word is loaded with lots of extra cultural information that the short couple of sentences explanation doesn’t capture. Like, you can probably find a good local equivalent of “witch” in many languages. But, it probably doesn’t include living in a house made of candy, wearing pointy hats, having warts and green skin, flying on broomsticks, and forming covens of 3 or 13.


So “gökotta” means “feathers spread out in a woodland clearing.” Interesting.


What’s the word for really contrived photographic endeavour?


A British football fan was charged with swearing at a policeman in France. The case collapsed when the French failed to find a suitable translation into French for the word “clacker”.


“Directed by Michael Bey”

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