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.

There are many CAT tools available today and it’s always worthwhile to write about a promising one. Smartcat is a browser-based, computer-assisted translation tool worth showcasing. We’ll give you a quick rundown of its main features which will undoubtedly intrigue you enough to give it a go.

Smartcat is a great platform for finding, hiring and paying freelancers, but we’ll focus more on the features Smartcat offers to project managers and translators.


Project Manager’s Point of View

Smartcat supports pretty much any file format you can come up with. It can be used to translate anything from Microsoft Office file formats to technical writing and localization file formats such as DITA XML or CSV, but also import packages such as SDLPPX / SDLRPX and create return packages. Also, it can be used to translate images in formats such as JPG, however this requires prior file conversion with Smartcat’s OCR software. This is not a free feature, but it is always possible to convert the file beforehand using online conversion tools or an OCR application such as ABBYY FineReader.

If you need quick statistics on your translation project, Smartcat’s got your back. When creating a project, it will calculate all the statistics you may need. This means word count, character count (both with and without spaces), number of segments, pages, repetitions, etc. Everything you need in one place.

It’s possible to create and upload translation memories as well as glossaries and use them for projects. This is an extremely useful feature when it comes to using proper terminology in a certain project and keeping your translations consistent.

Smartcat allows project managers to allocate certain parts of a project to specific translators. This is great when working on a big project with a short deadline. That allows several people to work on their own part of the project at the same time and complete the project faster. However, since all translators have a translation style of their own, it is of vital importance to have a single editor for the whole text. Smartcat offers three workflow stages: translation, editing and proofreading. This allows employment of several translators, and then of one editor to go over the whole text once the translation stage ends.


Translator’s Point of View

Smartcat has a user-friendly interface that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. All quick icons are displayed in the toolbar above the text, the source and target texts are displayed one next to another, all translation memory and glossary info is displayed on the right, and segment filtering is just one click away.


Have you ever worked on a large translation project and just knew there was an unconfirmed segment somewhere, but you couldn’t seem to find it? Just press F9 and Smartcat will find it for you. Also, if you’ve made notes on several segments you want to get back to later on, you can jump to the segment you need by entering the segment number.


This feature is particularly useful when translating from a language with several cases, such as Croatian. Translation memories are sensitive to cases, so this can be an issue when searching for a term you need. That’s why you can enter a part of a word or phrase in the source text box, and all the segments containing it will be filtered.


When you realize you’ve been using a wrong key term throughout the text after getting more than half of the translation done, don’t despair. Smartcat allows you to find all key terms in the target text and replace them with the terms you initially overlooked with a single click.


If there’s something you want to leave a note on regarding a certain segment or document, you can use the comment feature. This is a great way for you to explain to the person editing or proofreading your translation why you’ve preferred one term over the other, leave links to relevant sources, etc. It’s also a great way for the editor or proofreader to explain why something in your translation was altered and what to look out for in the future.

There are many other useful features as well, such as changing case, limiting segment length, undoing/redoing last actions, inserting special characters, and concordance searching. There’s also the progress bar that will always be there to show you how many words you’ve got left.


There you have it. This browser-based, computer-assisted translation tool has a bunch of useful features that will meet all your needs. The best thing; it won't cost you a dime. So, if you ever wanted to get yourself a translation tool, but did not want the additional expense, this is your chance to try out a great translation tool for free.




"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.

How much do you know about translating and are you aware of the astonishing impact it has on society? Find out some of the most memorable events influenced by translation mistakes.


As you may or may not know, St. Jerome is the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists, famous for spending 23 years of his life translating the Bible into Latin. But the interesting part is that he made a mistake while translating. The original Hebrew used the word keren  or qaran, which can mean either horn or a ray of light, the former being more common. This led to Moses suddenly being “horned” in the Bible, as well as in other works of art from that time, such as in Michelangelo’s Moses.


In 2004, several hospital staff were found guilty of manslaughter after improperly managing radiation machines, which were previously upgraded. Instruction manuals of those machines were in English, but the staff was French. There were mistakes in calculating the dosage, which led to 450 cancer patients being improperly treated over the course of 4 years, resulting in 7 patient deaths.


A translation error once left a man paralyzed. In 1980, Willie Ramirez, Cuban-American baseball star, arrived at a hospital suffering from a headache, falling in and out of consciousness. His family described his condition as intoxicado, which is a false friend of intoxicated, the former meaning poisoned and the latter meaning affected by alcohol or drugs. The doctors treated Ramirez as if he were suffering a drug overdose, while failing to notice a hemorrhage. This left him paralyzed, and the hospital had to pay $71 million in damages. Translating and interpreting is not a joke!


On that same note, it is believed that a translation mistake is actually the cause of the sad fate of Hiroshima. In 1945, the Allies sent a declaration demanding Japan’s unconditional surrender. The Prime Minister of Japan replied that he currently refrained from comments. He used the word mokusatsu, which can be interpreted in several different ways. Media and translators interpreted the word as “treat with silent contempt” or “ignore”, which was understood as an arrogant rejection or not worthy of a comment. Ten days later, the atomic bomb was launched on Hiroshima, instantaneously killing more than 70,000 people and 100,000 more as a result of radiation and destruction.


On a lighter note, Pepsi had some branding issues due to translation. The slogan in the original language was “Come alive with Pepsi”, but comical translations led to a drop in sales when it was shipped off to China. The Chinese allegedly interpreted the slogan as “bringing your ancestors back from the dead”. The Chinese also translated KFC’s “Finger lickin’ good” slogan into “eat your fingers off”. This shows how precise and considerate one must be when coming up with advertisements and slogans.


Finally, a translation mistake for which the entire science fiction genre is grateful. Astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli started mapping the surface of Mars. This included seas, continents and… channels – which he called canali. This was then translated as canals, which implied that, not only that life on Mars existed, but also that its population is advanced enough to build canals. Some of the great early science fiction works were inspired by those canali.


Translation mistakes happen, but when the stakes are high, “choosing your words carefully” has a whole new meaning. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t joke around with translations, regardless of the seemingly frivolous project. Take every single translating project as seriously as possible!

There is no denying the fact that deadlines are extremely important when it comes to the quality of translation projects. However, many clients require large translation projects to be completed in an impossible amount of time.

Why does this happen?

Many companies work on a project and find themselves in need of a translation. In many cases, their own project has a short deadline, therefore they need the translation to be done ASAP so they could continue working on the project. If the translation is late or faulty, the whole project is affected. This is one of many examples where translation projects with unrealistically short deadlines might turn up. What clients do not understand is that translation takes time.

It is not at all unusual to get an inquiry for a very technical translation project of some 20 000 words with a deadline set for the next day at 11 a.m. It can be done, but likely at a high cost, and we are not even talking about finance here. No translator, or a group of translators, would be able to make a high-quality translation in such a short amount of time. High-quality translations require careful research, appropriate terminology and, most of all, proper editing, especially after several translators had worked on a single project.

However, there are cases in which the deadline for a large translation project can be met. The questions are: how can this be done, and how does this affect translation quality?

Translation quality

It all really depends on the organization of the translation project. If several translators are working on the same project individually, with no mutual communication or project glossaries, the translation will inevitably be of poor quality. Different terms will be used by different translators and the differences in their styles of translation will be obvious. This will result in an enormous amount of work for the editor.

Make sure translators communicate during the translation process

If an agency decides to accept a big project with a short deadline, more often than not, several translators need to work on it. In such cases, communication among translators is essential. Translators can exchange information on certain terms and concepts or point each other towards useful resources for the translation project. Also, they are able match their styles of translation to a certain extent. Moreover, creating a project-specific glossary of terms is also of great help when dealing with an urgent translation project that involves several translators. All of this is important to ensure consistent use of terminology throughout the text and decrease the time needed to complete the task.

Ask the client for a translation memory or previous similar translations, if possible

If the client is able to provide a translation memory, this may be extremely helpful, especially if dealing with a translation project that requires extensive research regarding terminology. Translation memories can be uploaded to a CAT tool directly and improve the translation process. However, if all the client can provide are examples of previous similar translations, this can be helpful in terms of acquiring proper terminology and context for the current translation.

Leave enough time for editing

Plan the translation project to leave enough time for careful editing. This may decrease the short translation deadline even more; however attentive editing always results in a higher quality translation. When a large translation project is done in a short period of time, especially by several translators, some errors will most likely remain after the translation process. The editor can then correct those mistakes and adjust the style of writing and make it consistent throughout the text. The better the communication between translators during the translation process, the less work there is for the editor.

Clients are not always familiar with the way a translation project is carried out and often set unrealistic deadlines. When translation agencies decide to undertake such a feat and deal with the client’s request in the best way possible, several things are required to achieve the necessary translation quality: several translators need to work on the project, they need to communicate and use all available resources, and, finally, there must be enough time for the editor to “touch up” the translation. This way, urgent translations can be done to a satisfactory level. Still, whenever possible, it is best to negotiate with the client and get a deadline appropriate for the task at hand.

In recent years, marketing strategies and tactics have changed significantly due to the emergence of new media and technologies as well as changes in consumers' consciousness, but one term is likely to always hold the first place in every good marketing strategy – your brand.

What is a brand?

Short and simple, a brand is how consumers see you, because it represents your promise that you're going to solve their problems in the best possible way, that you are here for them and that their benefit is of the utmost importance. In the end, you need to create common ground with your consumers – do you have the same moral principles, are you building a better world together, or giving a joint contribution? Why you? Why Coca-Cola and not Pepsi?

A study from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas has shown that respondents actually prefer the flavor of Pepsi or the flavor of a generic cola brand if they do not know what they are drinking, but they all say that they prefer Coca-Cola. The scientists used magnetic resonance to monitor the behavior of brain centers while the respondents were still and then while they were drinking the offered drinks. On the tape, it was evident that the respondents, while not knowing which brand they were consuming, enjoyed the Pepsi flavor more. When the respondents were told that they were drinking Coca-Cola, though this was not true, brain parts of the respondents automatically "replaced" the actual sense with the perceived one and they "forced themselves" to like the taste of the original Coca-Cola better.

In this example, we can see the strength of the brand and what kind of a reaction it can trigger among consumers. Family is at the center of Coca-Cola's story, they created Santa Claus and when we hear the sound of Coca-Cola's commercials and the Christmas truck, this reminds us that the time of family gatherings, gifts and Christmas decorations is slowly approaching. Don't you feel closer to the company when you see a family smiling around the table with food, laughter and the irreplaceable Coca-Cola bottle?

Why is good branding extremely important?

It's very important to take some time to research, define and create a brand to make sure your branding is in line with your products or services and that you're sending a unique message.

Regardless of the importance of a brand’s visual identity and financial resources invested in the promotion, no (re)branding is going to help you if your product or service is not in synergy with what you represent.

For example, at the start of your business you can have the best Facebook campaign, but if you receive negative evaluation due to inadequate services, bad customer service, rude phone calls or something similar, their opinions are likely to affect your business. This negative feedback could also reach out to potential consumers and have a stronger impact than your campaign.

The characteristics of a good brand

A good brand has to clearly communicate your message, guarantee your expertise, create an emotional connection with the client, motivate the client to choose your product or service and ultimately what we all want – to ensure loyalty and partnership in the long run.

What's your brand like?

If you’re not sure if your brand fulfills what it should, or whether you should invest more efforts into branding, here are some questions to help you better assess the current situation:

To summarize, you need a clear message, expertise, emotional connection, call to action and ultimately, as a result of all of that, creation of a loyal consumer. Good branding doesn't only create a better picture of the company, it attracts the audience and brings more profit, but it also affects employees who are your first ambassadors. Don't be just another company among many, be a brand.