Lost in Translation: A review

You guys.

Have you ever read a book so beautiful that it just made you want to pick it up and start all over after you finished it?  That’s kind of how I felt about Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World.

I mean, it wasn’t beautiful in the way that the message or the meaning of the book usually is.  It was beautiful in a way that just kind of speaks for itself.

First of all, this is definitely a coffee table kind of book.  The author (Ella Frances Sanders) is also an illustrator, so every word has lovely illustrations to accompany it.

In the introduction to the book, Ella explains, “The words in this book may be answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask, and perhaps some you did. They might pinpoint words and experiences that seemed elusive and indescribable, or they may cause you to remember a person you’d long forgotten. If you take something away from this book other than some brilliant conversation starters, let it be the realization (or affirmation) that you are human, that you are fundamentally, intrinsically bound to every single person on the planet with language and with feelings.”

Basically, it takes a whole bunch of feelings or things that can’t be explained in English. Technically, they can be explained, but there isn’t a word for them.

My favorites include: Gezellig (Dutch), Trepverter (Yiddish) and Forelsket (Norwegian).   {You’ll have to read this book or use the internet to find out what they mean!}

It’s kind of a wordie’s dream: A book dedicated to words that I didn’t even know existed.

MY only complaints are these: Sometimes the definitions and descriptions are hard to read because of font color choice, and I would really like a pronunciation guide so that I can USE these words in day to day conversation. Is that too much to ask??

So there you go.

Do you have any words that have been “Lost in Translation”?


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