Lost in Translation: Untranslatable Words from Around the World

Lost in Translation: Untranslatable Words from Around the World

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There are many words in the world that are hard to translate. It is challenging to find the right translation or voice over artist to get the right output. This blog guides you to find the meanings for the remote words. These words help the artists in the projects like Brazilian voice over and other voice over projects with the right meaning.

Here is a list of 15 of our favourite untranslatable words:

1. Toska (Russian): A word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.  Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

2. Torschlusspanik (German): Literally, “Gate-closing-panic”. The anxious, claustrophobic feeling that time is running out; that we are missing out on opportunities and that life is just passing us by.

3. Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense one can have upon first meeting a person that the two are destined to fall in love.

4. Viraha (Hindi): The realisation of love through separation.

5. Abbiocco (Italian): The drowsiness you feel after eating a large meal – a very typical Italian feeling.

6. Jayus (Indonesian): A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

7. Tartle (Scottish): The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.


8. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.

9. Wabi-Sabi (Japanese): Finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.

10. Dépaysement (French): The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

11. Gezelligheid (Dutch): Closest translations are “cozy” and “welcoming”, often referring to a warm atmosphere.

12. Ya’aburnee (Arabic): Literally “You bury me”, an expression said in hope of death before another person because of how unbearable it would be to live without them.

13. Utepils (Norwegian): To sit outside on a sunny day and enjoy a beer.

14. Sobremesa (Spanish): After-lunch conversation around the table.

15. Fika (Swedish): Gathering together to talk and take a break from everyday routines, either at a cafe or at home.

Let’s all get lost in translation.

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