GNXP post of the day: Free MAT

While I was away, Today’s Translations cited this BBC article about the world’s most untranslatable words. TT also gave the top ten list:

The Ten Foreign Words That Were Voted Hardest To Translate

  1. ilunga [Tshiluba word for a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first
    time; to tolerate it a second time; but never a third time. Note: Tshiluba is
    a Bantu language spoken in south-eastern Congo, and Zaire]
  2. shlimazl [Yiddish for a chronically unlucky person]
  3. radioukacz [Polish for a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements
    on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain]
  4. naa [Japanese word only used in the Kansai area of Japan, to emphasise statements
    or agree with someone]
  5. altahmam [Arabic for a kind of deep sadness]
  6. gezellig [Dutch for cosy]
  7. saudade [Portuguese for a certain type of longing]
  8. selathirupavar [Tamil for a certain type of truancy]
  9. pochemuchka [Russian for a person who asks a lot of questions]
  10. klloshar [Albanian for loser]

The Ten English Words That Were Voted Hardest To Translate

  1. plenipotentiary
  2. gobbledegook
  3. serendipity
  4. poppycock
  5. googly
  6. Spam
  7. whimsy
  8. bumf
  9. chuffed
  10. kitsch

I should note that translation of saudade(s) is complicated by the difference in usage between the singular and plural, as explained here (in Portuguese).

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