Foreign Phrases Don’t Always Translate As Simply in English

international translation imageIf you’re a regular reader of our newsletters and blogs, you know we like to share examples of the unique and rich languages that exist around the world. Many times a word or expression in one language doesn’t translate exactly into another one, but they reflect universal emotions or experiences. Below are some good examples.  Feel free to try to work them into your daily conversations to impress friends and influence people!

  • Sombremesa (Spanish): when the food has finished but the conversation is still flowing.
  • Gökotta (Swedish): intentionally waking up early to go outside to hear the first birds sing.
  • Saudade (Portuguese): a melancholic longing/nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far away — either spatially or in time.
  • Natsukashii (Japanese): a nostalgic longing for the past, with happiness for the fond memory, yet sadness that it is no longer.
  • Kreng-jai (Thai): the wish to not trouble someone by burdening them with a request that might cause them hassle.
  • Kefi (Greek): a spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, even frenzy.
  • Kombinowac (Polish): working out an unusual solution to a complicated problem, and acquiring coveted skills or qualities in the process.
  • Kào pu (Chinese): someone who is reliable, responsible and able to get things done without causing problems for others.

Credit: Positive Lexicography Project