auerbach intl blog

Our newsletter last month illustrated how simple words such as “reuse” or “recycle” cannot be translated directly in some languages because translations depend on how the words are used in context. 

This month we wanted to illustrate words in other languages that simply have no direct translations in English, regardless of context. If you try AI or translation software programs, you will get meanings that simply are wrong – which is another reason to rely on Auerbach International’s professionally-trained, human translators, each with over ten years’ continual experience, to capture your intent correctly.

Sobremesa (Spanish: “over the table”): The time after a meal when the food is finished but the conversation, ideas and gossip are flowing.

Lagom (Swedish: more or less, “Just right”): Not too much, not too little. Just the right balance.

Hygge (Danish: cozy feeling): Genial, intimate feeling sitting around a winter fire with friends, having drinks and a meal.

Fernweh (German): Longing for a distant place or wanting to go someplace you have never been to. 

Depaysement (French): The feeling when you are abroad of not being in one’s home country, but that you don’t really belong. More intense than “homesick.”

Ya’aburnee (Arabic): Hoping that a dearly loved person will live longer than you because of your unbearable feeling of not having that person in your life.

Wabi-Sabi (Japanese): Unlike Westerners who strive for perfection, the finding of beauty in imperfections or flaws because each person and each art piece is unique.

Even if the words are clear, their misuse can change the meaning  … as these wonderful foreign signs in English illustrate:

In a Nairobi restaurant: “Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.”

Hong Kong dentist’s office: “Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.”

On a South African building: “Mental health prevention centre.”

On a Korean air flight: “On arrival at the airport, please wear your clothes.”

Paris dress shop: “Dresses for street walking.”

Especially for client-facing marketing, when you need the correct word, correct context, or correctly acculturated meaning, Auerbach International’s 30+ years of experience will guarantee accuracy for any written file, video, website and more. Please call or contact us for a free quote.

In gratitude for your ongoing projects and support and with best wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving,


Philip Auerbach

Founder, President & CEO

Auerbach International

Headquarters – 415-592-0042 x107

“3 Decades. 2 Billion Words. A+ Accuracy. Superior Translation Services.”

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