Top 5 Expressive Words with No Translation

Even people who only speak one language can often say hello in another. Whether it’s Bonjour, in French, or Hola, in Spanish, hello can be translated in just about any language spoken across the world. There are many words, however, that simply have no translation. The list is long and to put them all in one place would mean a lengthy piece. Instead, we’ll share our five favourites that express what we all feel from time to time in a relatable, but non-translatable, way.

1) Rocambolesco

This fantastic Italian word roughly translates to just that; fantastic. It originated in France from a fictional character, Rocambole, who was an adventure-seeking swashbuckler. The Italians expanded upon the character and use the word as way to express “exciting and gripping experiences you’ll tell your grandkids about one day,” says Huff Post.

2) Doch!

Notice the exclamation point that accompanies this German word. It might be translated in English as a way to agree with someone, but those who speak German “use it to contradict a negative question or statement,” says The Local. So, it’s almost like no…except when it’s yes. Thus, no translation.

3) So’larfri’

This is literally translated in Icelandic as a “sun holiday.” It’s a time when workers are given time off to enjoy a warm and sunny day. A better place the world would be if every employer granted a so’larfri’ from time to time.

4) Uffda

Expressing your sympathy “when someone else is in pain” is the best way to describe this Swedish word. Argane explains this as a way to say “ouch for you” and “I’m sorry you hurt yourself!” We think it’s the perfect response when someone stubs their toe; who doesn’t know that pain?

5) Hygge

This Danish word has been cropping up everywhere lately. It’s a lovely way to say that you’re relaxing at home, surrounded by comfort and coziness, having a drink and a good meal as candles flicker around you. This is mostly done with friends, but hygge describes a feeling that can be experienced alone as well.

The Importance of Expression When Meaning is Lost

When words have no translation in another language, it’s imperative that a professional translator do their best to carefully decipher the meaning behind the word and match it with the closest words possible, so that very little gets lost. This can be a difficult task, but those who are experienced in the industry do their best to provide dynamic translations, every time. Our professional translation service hand-picks professional translators who not only know the language, but the industry in which they work. For example, if you need someone to translate medical documents into Chinese; we’ve got that. Looking for travel brochures in Greek? Look no further. And your legal documents will be translated expertly in Arabic for your clients in the Middle East. Contact us today for all of your translation needs.

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