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The Wonderful World of the “Untranslatable”

Guest Blogger: Lindsay Anderson, Senior Program Assistant at the Study Abroad Office, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Have you ever had a feeling or felt an emotion that, when asked to describe it, you couldn’t find a single word in your own language to explain it? Does an action or feeling trigger a memory or a funny/cute/interesting stream of consciousness in your mind? Well you are not alone! In fact, this phenomenon of “untranslatability” is quite common across all cultures. Here are a few intriguing examples of feelings, emotions, actions, and situations that are deemed “untranslatable” from around the world. See if you can think of any others!

                              GERMAN                                                                                    JAPANESE 

found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-4

               found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-5

                          SWEDISH                                                                            RUKWANGALI (Bantu Language)

                                          found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-9found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-11

                            KOREAN                                                                                 INUIT (American Indian)

                                          found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-23found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-24

      TSHILUBA (Bantu Language)                                                                           YAGAN (Indigenous Australians)

                                                  found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-25found-in-translation-untranslatable-words-illustrations-anjana-iyer-30

 

Photo Credit for the Above Photos: http://www.boredpanda.com/untranslatable-words-found-in-translation-anjana-iyer/


SPANISH                                                                                    YIDDISH

cute-illustrations-untranslatable-words-marija-tiurinacute-illustrations-untranslatable-words-marija-tiurina-3

Charming-Series-of-Illustrations-Depict-What-Words-Fail-to-Capture2__880

Photo Credit for the Above Photos: http://www.boredpanda.com/cute-illustrations-untranslatable-words-marija-tiurina/

PORTUGUESE

2e008eecc70a46614147b1ec1b04c05f

Photo Credit: http://piccsy.com/2013/11/photo-131ce81c5

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