Translating the Untranslatable


In today’s world, it is possible to translate almost every word that drops in your mind. If you use the internet and choose the right online dictionary, such as, it takes at most twenty seconds for you to reach your desired translation. On the other hand, there are some words that you cannot translate at all. You know full well that only you and native speakers of your language can find the exact meaning. This matter is actually very common within every language and shared living experiences and cultural features are the reasons behind it. Sometimes you have to use several words or even a whole sentence just to translate one word.

Today I am going to talk about the Turkish verb ‘üşenmek’. It has the meaning of ‘not to have the energy or desire to do something’. It has no direct single-word translation. For a Turk it is unfortunate not to be able to use this word since ‘I don’t have a desire to do my homework’ is not a satisfying sentence. You see, it is a funny but desperate situation.

We cannot find out the reasons behind this funny despair, but we can find out something. To not be able to explain your exact thoughts is the worst thing a person can experience. Think about it once. Yes…it is a disaster!

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2 thoughts on “Translating the Untranslatable”

  1. Pingback: Tam Karşılığını Bulamadıkların - Lexiophiles

  2. I couldn’t agree less, I find the translation for the Turkish word ‘garip’ (meaning weird but also used to describe sorrowful, pitiful moments) garip (forgive the pun).

    I also think that, in general Turkish is more of an emotive language than English. General conversation in Turkish can be very poetic naturally, whereas to be poetic in English one must go out of their way to do so.

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