11. One of the Most Difficult Words to Translate in Any Language

MARCH 18, 2022: Cultural and contextual differences matter a great deal in literary translation because they can change the meaning of the text entirely. If you're a translator, you already know what this difficult word is, don't you? Hint: you use it so often that you probably don't even register this as a difficulty. In… Continue reading 11. One of the Most Difficult Words to Translate in Any Language

06. Words That Carry Entire Histories and Ways of Being Within Them

Earlier this week, I asked about favorite words in different languages on Twitter and got some lovely responses. I’ll share a few more briefly, although I could write entire essays about each. For me, they contain entire histories and ways of being within them.

02. Long Words and Sentences (e.g. “Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung”)

In 1993, I’d moved to Berlin, Germany to work at Siemens for a few months as an engineering apprentice. My job in the quality department involved doing all kinds of destructive and non-destructive testing procedures for defects, from hairline cracks to incorrect dimensions, in gas turbine components. And I had to do it all in a language that I had barely studied in the two years prior. So, while I was making my way around Berlin, getting hopelessly lost in eastern and western German dialects and all the immigrant slang that had made its way into them, I was also trying to decipher convoluted compound words from technical German manuals and reports.