Don’t let the title fool you. ‘Untranslatable words’ is just an easier way of saying ‘words that don’t have a direct equivalent in another language’. But that doesn’t roll of your tongue as much.


Untranslatable Words: Arigata-meiwaku – Japanese

This could be translated as unwanted kindness. Specifically, it describes a situation in which someone tries to do you a favor, despite you not wanting it, and consequently causing you additional trouble or just not helping you at all, but you are expected to express gratitude nevertheless due to social conventions. A truly Japanese word in every sense.

untranslatable words-japanese


Untranslatable Words: Sobremesa – Spanish

This word literally means ‘over the table’, but it signifies the period after a meal when the people sitting at the table continue to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Not an important word if you have no friends.
Sobremesa can also mean tablecloth.


Untranslatable Words: Zapoi – Russian

This Russian word is used to express continuous drinking for several days, so much so that the person withdraws from their normal social life. Sounds fun.


Untranslatable Words: Handschuhschneeballwerfer German

Used metaphorically to describe a person who acts like a coward by criticizing and attacking only from a safe distance. Literally, it means a person throwing snowballs while wearing their gloves. In both cases – a pansy.


Untranslatable Words: Utepils – Norwegian

Everything feels much better when you have a word for what you're doing. Since utepils means enjoying a cold beer outside on a sunny day, our non-working weekends during the bright and warm days can feel much more meaningful.


Untranslatable Words: Trepverter – Yiddish

Another one of those words we absolutely need in our language. This one, particularly, signifies a witty comeback that you think of when it’s already too late. It literally means ‘staircase words’.


Untranslatable Words: Gökotta – Swedish

One of those words we didn’t know we need in our lives. Gökotta is used in Swedish to express the action of rising at dawn to listen to the birds sing. I don’t like to wake up early for anything, but you go Swedes.

untranslatable words-swedish


Untranslatable Words: Gattara – Italian

We would translate it as ‘(crazy) cat lady’, that is, a woman who owns many cats or devotedly feeds stray cats.


Untranslatable Words: Gigil – Filipino

You know that feeling you get when you see a puppy or a baby so cute you want to pinch it? Well, that’s gigil. Now you know. It can be anything adorable, not just those two things. You’re welcome.


Untranslatable Words: Mencolek – Indonesian

Practically everyone tried to pull this trick on their friends when they were kids, we just didn’t have a name for it. The trick when you tap someone in front of you on the opposite shoulder than the one you intend to approach them from. A simple, yet effective way to humiliate your buddy.


Untranslatable Words: Tingo – Pascuense (Easter Island)

This one is my favorite. It means to continuously borrow stuff from a friend without returning it, until the friend is left with nothing. The fascinating thing about it is that it obviously happens so often there that they need a word for it.
You know what’s awful? Having to spend your money on things you want. Why not just find a friend and take their belongings? Profit.


There you go. A bunch of untranslatable words you will never use, apart from maybe saying ‘do you know there is a word in ___ meaning____’ in order to sound smarter. +100 Intelligence.

Dating is difficult enough, but dating a translator additionally complicates things. Many translators at Sinonim are in committed relationships and they selflessly shared the things their partners most often complain about. Surprise! It’s almost always related to the translator’s job.

First of all, even getting a date with a translator is hard. Translators usually barely have a social life as it is, so if you got yourself a date with one: congratulations! Now prepare yourself for the remainder of your relationship to be equally demanding.


  1. Lack of time for you.

As we said, translators don’t really have a social life. The reason being that we are always busy looking at our screen, typing away, thinking about whether it’s a Contract or an Agreement, working…

Which leads us to:


  1. Always tired.

After spending our entire day constructing and creating sentences, our brains turn into mush after a day’s work. It’s extremely difficult to think of a response that doesn’t consist of monosyllabic words like “yes”, “no” or “scrounged” (It’s funny because scrounged is one of the longest monosyllabic words. We have fun around here.) We need to rest and shut our brains off for at least an hour or so after work, which is usually done by watching cat videos on YouTube.


  1. Coffee.

Let’s get one thing straight. Translators who don’t drink coffee are like zombies: scary, but no one has ever seen one in real life.

Our translator friends need their caffeine, and if you deny them the satisfaction of drinking a cup of this delicious nectar of the gods, you might lose a limb. Or a partner. This is not a joke.

dating a translator-coffee


  1. Have an excellent sense of humor.

Translators are notorious for their ability to make anyone laugh. We have a collection of jokes in our minds for every occasion, such as:

Oh, sorry. Did I say make anyone laugh? I meant ourselves and… yeah, that’s about it.


  1. Menus.

Have you ever noticed that translators take ages to order? Well, we are actually just looking over the entire menu to see if there are any mistakes in the translation. (Hint: there always are.)

dating a translator-menu

  1. What's the context?

Context is everything. Whether we are translating or giving you advice, we need context. If you need our help, you better prepare the entire backstory beforehand. With photos, strings of yarn, the whole nine yards.


  1. Expanding your knowledge.

Do you ever just want to learn random language facts? Doesn’t matter. You’ll get them either way.

A group of polar bears is called an aurora, you say? Interesting…

dating a translator-knowledge


  1. We fix your grammar.

Did you write “then” instead of “than”? Did you “drink you’re coffee”? No worries, a translator is there to correct your grammar and resent you a bit more every time you make another grammatical mistake. We will still love you, but from a faraway place where we don’t have to talk to you.


  1. They love kebabs.

Oh wait, that’s me. I’m describing myself.


Well, it’s what I was doing this entire time either way.

I’m hilarious.

You've probably found yourself in a situation when you are not sure which word to use in a certain context. Some of those words differ in only one letter, some in two, and some are exactly the same, with just a space somewhere in between. Learn which to choose in different contexts in today’s post about commonly misused words in the English language!


Commonly Misused Words:  Effect vs Affect

Effect is usually a noun, and the result or a consequence of an action.  Affect is usually a verb, and it means to have an effect on. Go figure. So, this must be the reason why they are mixed up so often. Let’s clear up the mix-up and look at them in a sentence:

Commonly Misused Words:  Explicit vs Implicit


To say something explicitly is to spell it out clearly so that it isn’t ambiguous, but to say something implicitly means that the meaning is implied or not said clearly and directly.


Commonly Misused Words:  Compliment vs Complement

Even when you write the word “complement” in your Google search, you will get pictures that mean “compliment”. Let’s clarify the difference between these two meanings.

Compliment, with an “i”, is “an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration”. You give a compliment to your friend because she has impeccable eyeliner skills and her eyeliner is on point every single time or when her highlighter is on fleek. You can also give a compliment to someone due to their achievements. Complement, with an “e”, is something completely different. Okay, it’s not THAT different, but it’s different. Complement is “something that fills up, completes, or makes better or perfect” or “a thing that contributes extra features to something else in such a way as to improve or emphasize its quality”. In real life situation that means that her heels and purse match together perfectly or that those earrings complete her outfit and bring it to another level of dashing.

Let’s look at both words in one sentence:


Commonly Misused Words:  Onto vs On To


Onto is a preposition that means “on top of, to a position on.” On to, however, is used when on is a part of a verb phrase. For example:

A good trick is to mentally say “up” before “on” in a sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, then onto is the correct choice. (See the picture above.)


Commonly Misused Words:  Emigrate vs Immigrate

Emigrate means to exit a certain place, while immigrate means to enter or move to another country.


Commonly Misused Words:  Assume vs Presume


a) In common usage both assume and presume can mean ‘suppose’ and are often interchangeable. However, there is a subtle difference between the two where presume means ‘suppose to be the case based on probability’:

Assume on the other hand means ‘suppose to be the case without proof’:

b) Both words also share other meanings that can be summarized as ‘to take on oneself’. In this sense assume is generally used to describe taking on a role:

Whereas presume is generally used when taking on an attitude:


To sum this up, we could say that the English language has a lot of rules and subtle differences between certain words that are quite similar. If you’re not sure which word to use, look it up on the Internet (but be careful, not all information is correct!) or simply contact us, and we’ll help you with all your language dilemmas.

"I hate when people don't know the difference between your and you're. Their so stupid!", was one of our recent Facebook posts and many of you have agreed that English can be quite complicated, although we all think we know it perfectly. So today we are bringing you a few English language tips and tricks! This blog post is a friendly reminder of when to use who and whom, what’s the difference among this, that, these and those and some other English language nuances that can make a big difference.


English Language Tips and Tricks:  Who or whom?


Let’s start with something easy, take a look at the table below:



Why does this table help you understand the difference immediately? If you can replace WHO with any of the subject pronouns underneath it, you have a correct sentence. The same applies to the use of WHOM. This is because WHO is one of the subject pronouns, and WHOM is one of the object pronouns. Here are a few examples:


We have the exact same thing in Croatian. Here:


You see, it’s actually quite simple in Croatian as well.


English Language Tips and Tricks:  This or these?


The picture above will help you find your way around this and that, these and those. As soon as you imagine that THIS and THESE are for all objects that are near you, and THAT and THOSE for all objects farther away from you, everything will become crystal clear.

For example: If you want to say you like someone’s shirt, and that person is standing next to you, you will say:

And if that person is standing at the other end of the room, you will say:

We have the same thing in Croatian with pronouns “ovaj, taj, onaj”. We should use “ovaj” when something is near us, “taj” when something is next to the person we are talking to, and “onaj” when talking about something that is far away or out of sight. They are called proximal, medial and distal in Croatian language. Appropriate, isn’t it?


English Language Tips and Tricks:  Then or than?


The difference between THAN and THEN is huge and it makes a significant difference in a sentence. THAN is used for making comparisons, while THEN is used as a time conjunction. This is something that is mostly familiar so here are only two examples:

There are some sentences we need to be careful about. In the examples above, even if the word is spelled incorrectly, we know what someone wanted to say. This is not the case with the phrase RATHER THAN / RATHER THEN. Let’s take a look:

The first sentence means that you prefer pizza to hamburger, and that you would rather eat the former. The second sentence, however, means that you have a good appetite, and that you would eat pizza first, and a hamburger after the pizza. Here is a little reminder:



English Language Tips and Tricks: That or which?

Let’s try to explain this in the easiest way possible. THAT gives essential information and is used WITHOUT A COMMA. WHICH does not limit the meaning of the sentence. If we remove it, we lose details but not the meaning. It is separated WITH COMMAS. Check out the example bellow:


This means that he DID read the newspapers, just not the ones that came today. If we remove “that came today”, the sentence would have a completely different meaning. It would only state that he didn’t read the newspapers.

Check out the next sentence:

This means that he didn’t read the newspapers, and that those newspapers he didn’t read came today. If we remove “which came today”, the meaning of the sentence wouldn’t be changed. He didn’t read the newspapers either way, WHICH only explains what kind of papers they are à today’s / new newspapers.

We have the same thing in Croatian, even though we don’t express it with a different word, we express it only with commas. Look at the examples:

The first sentence means that he did read the newspapers, just not the ones that came today. Maybe he read those from yesterday or two days ago. The second sentence means that he didn’t read the newspapers, and what kind of newspapers were they. Meaning that, if we remove the part of the sentence after the comma, we would lose some details but not the meaning of the sentence.

To conclude, English and Croatian languages are not that different as it may appear at first glance. The most important thing is to UNDERSTAND these rules and question their use in sentences when you are not sure what to use. A few tricks have been listed but if you have a couple more, feel free to share your knowledge with us!

Since the English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, you would think that it’s extremely easy to learn. But no! There are countless things which can be so confusing if you are not a native speaker. Or even if you are. We have compiled a list of the most annoying things about the English language which just make our blood boil!


  1. Silent letters

From time to time, an English word will pop up which will have  a silent letter, like comb, knife or receipt. You might think that the only reason for it is so that English teachers can make our lives difficult. But there’s actually a better explanation for that. Way back when scholars were trying to standardize the English language, some people who were putting together dictionaries decided it would be best to remind people that some words evolved from the sophisticated Latin (because that’s a language that will never die, right?). Therefore, they thought that it would be an excellent idea that the word is spelled “receipt” instead of “receit”, so that people know it comes from Latin “recepta”. The same thing happened with debt or doubt. And then they probably laughed for decades at all the people having trouble with it.

Well-deserved place on our list of the most annoying things about the English language.


  1. Laugh, cough, dough

Some English words are spelled the way they are for no good reason. A particularly interesting problem arises when we encounter a word ending in -ugh. There are actually at least six ways of pronouncing that sound. An extremely short and simplified explanation is that words (spelling or pronunciation, or both) change. This is often the case with -ugh words; they originated from different languages and evolved over time. And today we have sentences like this: “Though the tough cough and hiccough plough him through…” where not one word rhymes, making our lives so easy. Not!


  1. Prepositions

Who would have thought that such small words can be so mischievous? And it’s funny how sometimes they make absolutely no sense. For example, we get on a bus, but get  in a car. Why?

We also say:
- He went home.

- He went to  his home.

Simply saying “he went to home” is wrong. Go figure.

There is an actual explanation for this. In the first sentence, “home” is used as a direction (adverb), while the second “home” is a thing, a location (noun). The incorrect way of saying it uses “home” as a noun as well, which must have an article (a/the) or another determiner (my/hers/this). But where’s the fun in explaining everything? It’s much easier to complain.

Nevertheless, prepositions really are one of the most annoying things about the English language.


  1. The word “rural”

The person who invented the word “rural” is a horrible human being.

And the more you say it out loud, the more you sound like an idiot. Thanks, English!


  1. Wednesday

Do we even have to say it? What’s the deal with the spelling of “Wednesday”? We just can’t wrap our minds around it!


There you have it. Those are some of the most annoying things about the English language, but there are many other out there.  Feel free to share with us the things that irritate you the most about this language, we are more than happy to hear it.