Global Chatter – April: Untranslatable Words & Iraqi Poetry

Hello! Ahoj! Merhaba! Welcome back to the April edition of Global Chatter. Providing expert, accessible and affordable translation in every major world language, we like to keep our ear to the (digital) ground when it comes to news, ideas, information and fun from the “translatosphere”! That’s why, each month, we publish a hand-picked selection of blogs and posts all about languages around the world – and how to use them. This month, discover 13 beautiful, yet untranslatable words from all over the world, find out why translators love what they do, plus listen to some amazing Iraqi poetry in translation, filmed in Iraqi Kurdistan.

13 Beautiful, Untranslatable Words blogger Martinique of the Education First blog points out, there are more than 750,000 words in the English language. Yet, even with so many words, there are concepts and ideas which defy explanation in one simple cluster of phonemes. Every language has its strengths, and every culture has its own preoccupations, which is why some languages manage to capture abstract concepts and ideas which English simply can’t. In this awesome blog you’ll discover everything from the Norwegian term for the euphoria of beginning to fall in love, to the Tagalog word for the fluttering, romantic feeling for butterflies in the stomach.

Can you think of an English equivalent for these 13 words? Share it in the comments section below.

Why Translators Love What They Do you’ve been working with a disgruntled translator, it may be time to find a new professional to work with. In such a fascinating area, there’s little reason not to love your job (the Comtec language experts certainly do!) as this amazing blog from Oxford Dictionaries points out. To celebrate International Translation Day last September, the OD team asked nine translators to share exactly what it is that they love about what they do. The answers make very interesting reading for anyone with an interest in languages; from opening windows to other worlds, to solving puzzles and making global communication possible.

Poetry: Found in Translation

Ready for a spot of culture? This brilliant post and project by Highlight Arts via the British Council website is teeming with translation at work. Featuring three short films, each recording a poem recited in Iraqi Kurdistan in English, Arabic and Kurdish, the project shows exactly how powerful, complex and rich translation can be as a medium for conveying and sharing art, ideas and feelings. Well worth a watch.

Do you have a favourite translated poem or inexpressible non-English word? Share it with other readers in the comments section below.

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