Book Review – Lost In Translation

TITLE: Lost in Translation: An illustrated compendium of untranslatable words from around the world
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Ella Frances Sanders
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2014

 

Lost in Translation is an illustrated book featuring words from other languages that don’t translate into English.   It tells you what language the word is from and what the word means and there’s some graphic design to make it all “Pretty.”

Except the design is hideous.  Like thin white hollow letters on pastels.  I could barely read some of the pages.  There is no arrangement for the order of words.  It’s like they’re thrown into a hat and whatever order they were drawn in is the order they appear.

Nothing tells you how to say some of these words.  And “untranslatable” is a misnomer at best.  True, we simply call your third cup of coffee the third cup of coffee, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a way to translate it (and really, in the case of a word like “third cup of coffee” do we really NEED a way?). I was hoping for words that had such an essence to them that there was no easy, direct way to explain them.  Also, according to other reviews of this book, some of these aren’t even accurate.  So there’s that.

In short, I hate this book.  There’s nothing good about this book.  There’s little content, the illegibility is more trouble than it’s worth, and I spent more time lamenting the information that we DON’T get than enjoying what is there.  What good is a book of words if you don’t know how to say them?

I give this book 1/5.  Even as a novelty, there’s nothing novel about it.

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