Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words From Around the World

Book - 2014 | First edition.
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"An artistic collection of 52 drawings featuring unique, funny, and poignant foreign words that have no direct translation into English"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Berkeley :, Ten Speed Press,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781607747109
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations


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Oct 12, 2019

If you enjoy language and quirky stuff, you'll like this book. My only notable criticism: I think the word "gurfa" is based in Arabic, not in German (unlike what is illustrated in the book). I'll have to do a little more research on that ...

Sep 06, 2017

It's a fun coffee table kind of book, which is entertaining in that sense. I'd own it if I could. But for me, I wish phonetic pronunciations of each word had been included. I like to "hear" the words instead of just seeing how they're spelled.

Nov 15, 2015

If you love words, you will enjoy this brief, entertaining read.

May 05, 2015

It's a very short book. I expected more, especially since she's drawing on several websites for her information, all of which feature far more words than she includes. The illustrations are well done and often witty, but I wish she included how the words are written in their original language -- often part of what is "lost in translation" is that certain sounds aren't easily (if at all) captured when written using Roman letters instead of Arabic or Devnagari or Chinese characters.

ksoles Mar 02, 2015

Translation: a complex art of multilingual gymnastics that can reveal volumes about the human condition. But so often an unbridgeable otherness exists between words, a negative space that renders rich and layered foreign words untranslatable into English. These beautifully elusive words capture writer/illustrator Ella Frances Sanders's attention in "Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World."

From the Japanese for "leaving a book unread after buying it" to the Swedish for "the road-like reflection of the moon over the ocean" to the Italian for "being moved to tears by a story," the words Sanders illustrates remind us that language makes us human. The project provides an antidote to our digital age of flattened expression and textual shorthand as the words represent both the curiosities of the global lexicon and the vast array of sentiments from a diverse range of cultures.

These words also prompt wonder: do a people lacking the term for "the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees" also lack the attentive stillness that this very act requires? Published before the author turned 21, this beautiful and introspective volume proves that our words bespeak our priorities.

Jan 08, 2015

Writer and illustrator Ella Frances Sanders created a gem with this book. Simple words become poetry in their intangible meanings and ideas. According to Sanders, words like this “reminds us of how inherently human we all are—that we are all made of the same stuff, that we don’t necessarily need fluency in other languages to be able to communicate well”.

Favorite: Mamihlapinatapai (Yanghan): "the silent acknowledgment and understanding between two people, who are both wishing or thinking the same thing (and are both unwilling to initiate).

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