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Video: Swedes untangle the untranslatable

Video: Swedes untangle the untranslatable

Published: 29 Jan 2013 14:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Jan 2013 14:31 GMT+01:00

After our latest list of "untranslatable" Swedish words got people talking, The Local's Oliver Gee took to the streets of Stockholm to ask Swedes if they could find any helpful translations.

As English is such a rich and wordy language, you'd surely think there is an English-language equivalent for any Swedish word there is. Right?

Well, not necessarily as our recent list of ten more Swedish words you won’t find in English demonstrated.

So we took our list to the streets of Stockholm with a video camera, and even though we'd already deemed our list of words to be impossible to translate, our interviewees displayed sparkling creativity and some interesting suggestions as we challenged them to prove us wrong.

Could the word for "the day after tomorrow" be "doublemorrow", as someone suggested? Perhaps.

Could a 70-year-old man with a gym in his own house find a simple way of explaining "träningsvärk", the ache in your body after a solid workout? Maybe.

But is "hen", a Swedish word meaning "he or she", another word for chicken? No, definitely not. And not shicken either for that matter.

Confused? Well, check out the video below.

Still hungry for more Swedish words that don't exist in English? Why not check out The Local's original video challenging Swedes in Uppsala with nine untranslatable Swedish words.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

15:38 January 29, 2013 by Erwin Mahnke
Must be a deficit of English as most of the words exist 1:1 in German, or for the matter of that genderized creature, in Finnish.
16:09 January 29, 2013 by Ant
English for palla is scrumping
16:17 January 29, 2013 by Suprise
Those made me giggle.. Whenever I'm feeling a little annoyed I ask my BF to tell me what an untranslatable word means in English. To this day he has not given me an adequate answer for lagom. :) For fun I may never admit it if he does ;)
16:20 January 29, 2013 by Ant
English for Palla is Scrumping
18:44 January 29, 2013 by oddsock
In English the name for the day after tomorrow is Thursday. Ha!
21:52 January 29, 2013 by millionmileman
I own a Finnish built Saab Viggen car which is supposed to mean Thunderbolt but I have never found this translation on any on-line dictionary. this derivation of lightning is the most popular name for the world's aircraft manufactures.

The Japanese even had thier own canard-wing plane that flew 3 days before Hiroshima called the Kiyushu Shinden (divine lightning)

http://youtu.be/AGZ77qV0Mvo
14:34 January 30, 2013 by tracygrimshaw
Hen = They
19:53 February 1, 2013 by tadchem
The English equivalent of 'hen' ("he or she") is 'tranny'. As my grandmother told me, if you can't tell right away whether someone is male or female, the difference isn't worth knowing.
05:27 February 19, 2013 by SEK
Maybe this is a difference between British English and American English but "träningsvärk" is "sore", in the U.S. Sore can refer to an open wound or being upset as well but if I lift weights and the next day my muscles ache, I simply say I'm sore. "Hen" can be translated as "one". One must not worry...
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