Off topic: Nine untranslatable Swedish words
Thread poster: RominaZ
| | RominaZ
English to Spanish
This thread is part of the Translator playground
: a place for translators to have fun, to network, to learn, and to hone their translation or linguistic skills. See the announcement here
Need a quick break from work? In this forum translators and language professionals can share quotes about translation, tongue twisters and word plays, translation challenges, etc.
All are welcome to participate and to add new items to this and the other areas of the Translator playground
; have fun with it! If you need help or would like to propose an addition to the Translator playground, contact site staff through the online support system
In this video by The Local.se people are challenged to translate 9 untranslatable Swedish words into single English words.
| | Vera Schoen
Local time: 12:11
German to Swedish
And there is another one: lagom = not too much or too little, but just enough.
How about "untranslatables" in other languages?
| | Ty Kendall
Local time: 11:11
Hebrew to English
| Lack of a one-to-one equivalent.... || Jul 6, 2012 |
....does not mean it is "untranslatable".
This is a linguistic myth perpetuated by non-linguists.
I know this was posted in the "off topic" section of the site, but what we have here is a promotional video posted by The Local (Swedish news site published in English).
So one of their guys goes out for a walk in Stockholm and asks ordinary Swedes (who of course all "can English") to translate terms/concept he already knows do not have exact equivalents in English.
Totally ignoring the distinction between word and term and the fact that Swedish compounds are written together whereas English ones are not. For example, badkruka, bad = bath, kruka = vase/planter, would be two words in English (if, and only if, you use GT or similar to translate this term)*
Or that English does not need a word/term for a tradition only applicable to the northern parts of Sweden? "Surströmmingspremiär" = the first day (in August) that you are "allowed" to eat fermented, and reeking, herring.
Why didn't he just try that famous false friend "gå" (walk)? I bet at least 75% of respondents would have answered "go". That is how well Swedes in general "can English" if you put them on the spot.
*Badkruka roughly translates as "loser". Example: "Sisten i är en badkruka" = "The last one in [the water] is a loser".
| || || |
| | matt robinson
Local time: 12:11
Spanish to English
I work for a Swedish multi-national every week, and in my experience the level of English of all speakers is between intermediate and upper-intermediate. For a second language that is fantastic (Cf. England) but not native speaker level, and why should it be?
My second point relates to translation in general. There is nothing which cannot be translated. The most complex of ideas expressed by a single word in one language for whatever reason can be translated using however many words are necessary in the target language. What's the problem?
There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »
Nine untranslatable Swedish words
|SDL Trados Studio 2017 only €415 / $495|
|Get the cheapest prices for SDL Trados Studio 2017 on ProZ.com|
Join this translator’s group buy brought to you by ProZ.com and buy SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance for only €415 / $495 / £325 / ¥60,000
You will also receive FREE access to our getting started eLearning program!
More info »
|Déjà Vu X3 |
|Try it, Love it|
Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market.
See the brand new features in action:
*Completely redesigned user interface
*Inline spell checking
More info »