LOST IN TRANSLATION: AN ILLUSTRATED COMPENDIUM OF UNTRANSLATABLE WORDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD by Ella Frances Sanders

Diana Leigh

4.5 Stars

July 20, 2016

LOST IN TRANSLATION is a lovely little book that defines and illustrates many words that do not have a precise English equivalent. The collection includes words that are funny, practical, and touching. With every turn of the page, I was smiling or thinking “Ah, ha!” A couple of my favorites:

  • The Swedish verb fika, which is a “gathering together to talk and take a break from everyday routines, usually drinking coffee and eating pastries…often for hours on end.” Sounds great to me!
  • The German noun kabelsalat, which is a “mess of very tangled cables, literally a cable-salad.” Yep, seen that.

I found all the words interesting and most of them relatable, even though there is not a clear translation. There’s a German word for the extra pounds you put on from emotional eating. *nods* There’s a Malay word for the time needed to eat a banana (huh!), and the list goes on.

The presentation was set up with the word, drawing, and definition on a page, and the author’s take on the word on the facing page. The illustrations in this book were fun and fanciful. I guess my only complaint was that the font used for definitions was sometimes hard to read, but otherwise I loved the book. Definitely one for my keeper shelf!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review.