Beautiful & Untranslatable: Words from Around the World

While English increases in popularity, there are words and phrases commonly found in various other languages that will never be directly translatable. We’re here to celebrate these beautiful, strange, and often elaborate expressions that hold importance to their respective cultures.

When we first opened the Language Department office in Barcelona in 2004 —many factors went into the decision, including the desirable Spanish lifestyle. Beautiful cultural concepts such as ‘sobremesa’, are one of the many reasons why we have had a more than decade-long love affair with Spain.

Food is a huge part of life in Spain, but it also serves a very important purpose. It is the center of social gatherings, but for Spaniards, how we eat is as important as what we eat. 

Sobremesa can literally be translated to “over the table”, but it can also be used to describe the time spent after a meal, giving one time to digest and spend time with friends and family, chatting, and enjoying each other’s company. Sobremesa is a fundamental part of a meal.

A well-stained tablecloth, scattered with empty plates, glasses, and crumpled napkins is a sign of a successful sobremesa. One does not leave the sobremesa to tidy —-  a sobremesa is to be prolonged for as long as possible, so the moment can be enjoyed wholeheartedly by all. 

Sobremesa is about slowing down and taking the time to savor the coffee. In the Western world, everyone seems to be time-poor. Why get coffee to dine-in when we can get it to go, carefully slurping it without spilling on our way to the next appointment. Perhaps the Western world could take a leaf out of Spain’s book, push the cheque back an hour or two and enjoy a long lunch with friends every once in a while. 

See more beautiful, untranslatable words and phrases from languages all around the world!

With our team of expert translators, there are endless possibilities to get your most ‘untranslatable’ messages to a wider audience.  Get in touch with our team to discuss how translations can help.

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