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Words or expressions that are hard to translate


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Do you know some words or expressions that are hard to translate to other idioms? I know a few!

Saudades: It's a Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English.

"A somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness. It is related to thinking back on situations of privation due to the absence of someone or something, to move away from a place or thing, or to the absence of a set of particular and desirable experiences and pleasures once lived." (Dicionário Houaiss da Língua Portuguesa)

L'esprit d'escalier: It's a French term used when the perfect retort comes to mind too late.

"Used to refer to the fact that a witty remark or retort often comes to mind after the opportunity to make it has passed." (Oxford Dictionaries)

This expression was described by Denis Diderot in "Paradoxe sur le Comédien": ‘a sensitive man like me, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, loses his head – and doesn't get it back again till he's at the bottom of the stairs’

If you know a word or expression that only exist in some languages, post here! I would love to see another examples.  :wink:

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Yes, I know a few colloquial and slang words in my own language that can't be translated directly to English, but some approximations can be used instead, one of them is ''Caramba''.  A friend of mine was asking me the other day what was the exact translation of that word, I tried to give him the closest approximation to English, since there isn't a direct translation. 

I can't really think of others right now, but there are several in my language, specially colloquial words and expressions.

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Well, no word is impossible to translate if you're allowed to use several words to describe the word... But many words don't have a direct translation to another language.

"lagom" - Not too much, and not too little, just the right amount. (swedish)

"旬" - While not really a word... or maybe it can be a word... It's a kanji that means "a ten-day-period". I think Heisig used some single word for this to refer to the ten day period, but I think that was some kind of made up word from a book, rather than an actual word. There is also a kanji for "one ten-thousand". In english we'd say ten thousands, but the Japanese says "one ten-thousand", kind of...

I'm sure there are lots more, but I can't think of any else at the moment.

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Do you know some words or expressions that are hard to translate to other idioms? I know a few!

Saudades: It's a Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English.

"A somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness. It is related to thinking back on situations of privation due to the absence of someone or something, to move away from a place or thing, or to the absence of a set of particular and desirable experiences and pleasures once lived." (Dicionário Houaiss da Língua Portuguesa)

L'esprit d'escalier: It's a French term used when the perfect retort comes to mind too late.

"Used to refer to the fact that a witty remark or retort often comes to mind after the opportunity to make it has passed." (Oxford Dictionaries)

This expression was described by Denis Diderot in "Paradoxe sur le Comédien": ‘a sensitive man like me, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, loses his head – and doesn't get it back again till he's at the bottom of the stairs’

If you know a word or expression that only exist in some languages, post here! I would love to see another examples.  :wink:

I am not sure if I understood well L'esprit d'escalier as defined by you, but I think it is similar to our Filipino interjection "sayang". "Sayang" connotes frustration over a near-miss. It's a reaction to something that one almost achieved, but was not able to, after it has passed. It's hardly translated in other languages as a single word too.

We also have "kilig" which is a feeling of being intoxicated by the idea of love, and that sends one shivers.

:love:

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