Even amongst the most seasoned and veteran translators in the industry, there is a time when one might stumble across a word so unique, that the only acceptable response is a puzzled and somewhat wondrous look. Of course, not every word has a direct translation in every language, and part of the beauty of translating is being able to conjure creative workarounds out of thin air. While there are plenty of non-translatable words that fall on the more mundane side, there are also a few of them that deserve a special mention out of pure beauty or even strangeness.
This Japanese word pictures a scene in which the sunlight shines through the leaves of the trees. No doubt that we can all picture the magical scene in a midsummer afternoon, leaves swaying with the gentle wind while the rays shimmer through. Now we can put it into words, even if we have to nick it from another language!
A beautiful Portuguese word that expresses the feeling of longing for a lost love, a friend, or even bygone times. To add a bit more drama into the mix, the word also implies that all of these things will never return, and the speaker will be forever left with this feeling of loss. A common translation would be “a love that lingers”, but it’s hard to beat the poetic tinge of the original word.
Coming from the Danish language, this word refers to a warm, comfortable, or intimate moment in a safe and homely place. More than likely originating from the freezing Danish winters spent indoors, it seems like they found the perfect word to relive the best memories of the season. Just thinking of the word makes us feel cozy already.
Ok, that’s two words, but we can make an exception every once in a while. This Spanish expression describes the feeling of embarrassment one feels when someone else is doing something embarrassing. The person committing the act may not necessarily feel embarrassed themselves, but an onlooker that gets the urge of disappearing from the face of the earth is feeling “vergüenza ajena”.