Translation News: Illustrator Depicts Untranslatable Words in New Book

Writer and illustrator Ella Frances Sanders has been getting some lovely attention for her recently published book in which she illustrates and describes words that have no direct translation in English. 


Image published here with permission from Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.


‘Lost in Translation’ brings to life 50 words from a variety of languages including Japanese and Finnish. For example, in Japan, there is a special word dedicated to describing the way sunlight filters through trees! The illustrations are funny, clever and entirely heartwarming as well as being a beautiful way to unite people of different races and cultures in a sweet moment of appreciation of things we all know and love; we just each have different ways to describe them it seems.

And the feeling of being surrounded by loved ones, perhaps at home, somewhere cosy, in Holland they call this ‘gezellig’ meaning cosy, “but encompasses more than a physical feeling. It is a sort of social coziness.

“Often these words provide insight into the cultures they come from, such as the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers through a lover’s hair, the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story, or the Swedish word for a third cup of coffee.”

You can find the book on Amazon. Possibly the perfect gift for your international clients, to laugh about the language barriers together, or for a loved one who’s first language is different than your own.

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For more on the book, see

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