Hand holding two paper hearts, one with the German flag and the other with the Italian flag

The (Untranslatable) Phrases of Love

They say the language of love is universal, but we (unfortunately) have to disagree. Love is everywhere, but every language has its own words, phrases, and concepts when it comes to communicating just what love is. It stands to be one of the most contextually challenging ideas to effectively translate and is one that even the most experienced language service providers must be on guard against.

Context is crucial when translating from one language to another. You can translate word for word, but throw those sentences together and you might end up saying something less than.....lovely. Or, in these cases, there are no active translations for these words at all. That's the beauty of translation; there's a heartbeat behind each language. 


10 Romantic Phrases That Can Never Be Correctly Translated


1. Ya’aburnee – Arabic

Translated into English, Ya'aburnee means "you bury me." In Arabic however, it represents the idea that you hope the person you love will live longer than you, so you don't have to live without them. 


2. Yuanfen – Chinese

Not a single English word is available to describe this "relationship by fate or destiny."


3. Razbliuto – Russian

When you used to love someone, but no longer do. In English, this feeling is not even summarized by a word. 


4. Viraag – Hindi

The emotional pain of being separated from a loved one. We compare this to the feeling of "missing someone" or "longing for someone" though even those do not collectively summarize the same concept as "Viraag."


5. Cafuné – Brazilian Portuguese 

Tenderly running your fingers through someone's hair.


6. Kara sevde – Turkish

In English, this means "blind love" - but "Kara sevde" actually means the idea that you feel an intense, passionate blind love for another person. 


7. Koi No Yokan – Japanese

The moment you meet someone, you know that you are destined to fall in love with one another. 


8. La douleur exquise – French

Wanting someone you cannot have, and the intense pain that follows. 


9. Retrouvailles - French

The feeling of joy after seeing someone whom you have not seen for a long time. Hard to believe we don't have a compound word for this beautiful feeling. 


10. Cavoli riscaldati – Italian

In English, this phrase means "reheated cabbage." The Italians use this phrase to describe a moment you attempt to restart a failed relationship or love affair. 


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