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Lost In Translation: 30 Words With No English Equivalent

Lost In Translation: 30 Words With No English Equivalent

As extensive as the English language might be, other languages continue to have many words that are completely absent! This list has 30 words from all around the world with no exact english equivalents and maybe you’ll find some of these interesting or perhaps even be motivated to pick up a new language, because why not?

1. Schadenfreude

(German) A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people. Notice the “Freud” in there, perhaps Sigmund Freud loved hearing about people’s troubles and built up his psychodynamic field on that!

2. Fernweh

(German) That feeling you get of homesickness for a place you’ve never ever been to! This is quite similar to wanderlust except that wanderlust is a yearning to visit all those places rather than that distinct feeling of homesickness for them.

3. Sobremesa

(Spanish) The moment after eating a meal when the food is gone but the conversation is still flowing at the table. Usually after the main meal of the day where the Spanish often linger on at the table drinking coffee, chatting, playing cards or watching TV before returning to work later in the afternoon.

4. Treppenwitz

(German) That moment when we think of the perfect comeback long after the chance to actually use the comeback! It essentially means “a clever remark that comes to mind when it’s too late to say it”.

5. Backpfeifengesicht

(German) Do you ever just look at somebody and get so annoyed that you just want to hit them in the face? Well this is the word for you because “Backpfeifengesicht” is a face badly in need of a fist!

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6. Lagom

(Swedish) Lagom is all about moderation. It means not too much and not too little, but just the right amount. Typically referring to the etiquette of taking your share. Lagom is just the perfect spot on the scale!

7. Estrenar

(Spanish) The definition is to wear or use something for the first time but it could be applied for meals, clothes, houses, cars, everything!

8. Razbliuto

(Russian) Describes the feeling a person has for someone he or she once loved. Quite a sad word but here it is for when you really want to convey that.

9. Bakku-shan

(Japanese) A beautiful girl as long as she’s being viewed from behind. Ouch.

10. Mencomot

(Indonesian) Stealing things of little to no value, not because you need them but for the fun of it! This has also become a condition called Kleptomania that refers to the inability to stop the urge to steal items for reasons other than personal use or financial gain.

11. Antier

(Spanish) A one-word way of saying the day before yesterday or a shorter version of “antes de ayer”. Can we have a word for the the day before before yesterday?

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12. Yūgen

(Japanese) Means “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe … and the sad beauty of human suffering”. This concept is very important in Japanese culture and the exact translation often depends on the context. In Chinese philosophy the term was taken from “yūgen” meaning “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious”.

13. Schlimazl

(Yiddish) An “inept, bungling person” who is chronically unlucky! (Also Schlimazel or Shlimazl)

14. Hygge

(Danish) Relaxing with a few friends and loved ones while having a meal or some drinks. The word is all about coziness. This is also similar to just “chilling” with a bunch of good friends but Hygge is far more precise.

15. Desvelado

(Spanish) Being unable to sleep or to be sleep deprived. Not very pleasant.

16. Fisselig

(German) Being flustered to the point of incompetence. Some say this would be the same as “jittery” but it’s different because it conveys this temporary state of inexactitude and sloppiness that is caused by another person’s nagging!

17. Tsundoku

(Japanese) Leaving a new book unread after buying it and just letting it pile up with the other unread lonely books in your house, possibly the meanest thing you could do to something as valuable as a book! Don’t tsundoku!

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18. Shouganai

(Japanese) Connected to the idea of fate, this word means that something can’t be helped, so why worry about it? Worrying won’t stop the bad things from happening, it will only stop you from enjoying the good ones.

19. Tuerto

(Spanish) A man with only one eye. Loosely translates to “The One-Eyed”.

20. Uffda

(Swedish) This Swedish exclamation is a sympathetic word to use when someone else is in pain. Pronounced “OOF-dah”, it’s like a mix between “Ouch for you” and “I’m sorry you hurt yourself!”

21. Waldeinsamkeit

(German) The feeling of being alone in the woods. Some Hansel and Gretel or Red Riding Hood reference, I bet!

22. Fargin

(Yiddish) To wholeheartedly appreciate the success of others.

23. Weltschmerz

(German) A romanticised and weary sadness that is experienced by the most privileged of the youth! Translates literally to “world-grief”. Doesn’t that sound a little like our first world problems?

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24. Pochemuchka

(Russian) A person who asks too many questions. Yes, I’m looking at you girl in my class who never puts her hand down.

25. Saudade

(Portuguese) Melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far away from you.

26. Tartle

(Scottish) If you’ve ever been talking to someone you’ve been introduced to before but their name has completely disappeared from your brain then you’ve tartled. Essentially means a hesitation in recognising a person or thing.

27. Aware

(Japanese) The bittersweetness of a brief and grading moment of transcendent beauty.

28. Tingo

(Pascuense) Slowly and gradually stealing your neighbour’s things by borrowing them and not returning them till you’ve built up a collection of all the things Not Yours!

29. Iktsuarpok

(Inuit) The frustration and annoyance that comes with waiting for someone to show up. To all you people who wait for your date at the restaurant for hours while the waiters glance pity looks at you every once in a while. Yes. You know what I mean.

30. Mamihlapinatapei

(Yagan) An unspoken yet really profound look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.

Do you know any other words that we don’t have in the English language?

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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