Top 10 Untranslatable French Words You Must Know

Do you know there are top 10 untranslatable French words you much know before translating your document, website, research papers etc.? What are they? Here is the list for you.

What do we usually think of when we think of the French language which sounds very different from English?

French sounds highly romantic. This language is full of sensual sounds as well as flowery adjectives.

When it comes to essential English To French Translation, the two languages don’t even share more similarities.

And, French includes several phrases and words that don’t have apparent English equivalents.

Let’s find out which are those words.

Top 10 Untranslatable French Words

The following is a big list of ten untranslatable words widely used in French.

1- Cartonner

A beautiful French slang verb mostly used for talking about anything that has been the biggest hit – films, books, bands, etc.

For example, le film cartonne aux États-Unis. Cartonner generally means to wrap up in cardboard.

2- La douleur exquise

This is a smooth-spoken French expression that expresses the heartache and sadness of unrequited love.

If your want your English novel effectively translating into French, make sure that this word is used correctly and goes well with the theme of your novel.

3- Matraquage fiscal

This term is highly seen in the French press recently.

The literal English translation is tax bludgeoning. Also, Matraquage is used in Matraquage publicitaire, basically a publicity bludgeoning – a proper translation is hype.

4- L’ésprit d’escalier

If you ever had a conflict with someone and simply come up with a clear witty response while lying in bed, L’esprit d’escalier truly depicts the feeling.

The English translation of this is staircase wit. The term was coined by the 18th-century philosopher Diderot.

Translators while translating any story, should follow the fundamental rules in french translation and ensure that this word fits well in the content.

5- Flâner

This is a quite Parisian word. It was highly invented in the 19th century by the literary crowd of Paris.

Flâner depicts the art of leisurely walking along the streets of the City of Light without any specific objective or destination in mind.

The strollers are just there to absorb the beauty of the city. Aimless Paris walkers are called flâneurs.

6- Ras-le-bol

This is a French phrase that’s tough to translate into the English language. Ras-le-bol is utilized to express annoyance.

The high-grade English equivalents of j’en ai ras le bol de… are I’m sick of… I’ve had it up to here with…This expression in French is utilized to describe a feeling of desperation.

It’s been appearing a lot in the French press when it comes to the increased taxes – ras-le-bol fiscal because many companies are opting for genuine French translation for businesses to ensure that the right message should pass to the audience.

7- Retrouvailles

This is a pure French word that is used to express happiness when meeting someone again that you haven’t viewed for over a long time.

8- A l’ouest

A l’ouest implies in the west when translated literally in French. However, in France, this term is used to describe someone who is a bit different, or this refers to someone who thinks outside the box.

Also, it can be described as a person engaged while daydreaming. Maybe the closest English expression might be on a different planet.

Did you know?

There are 321 million French speakers worldwide. So, to expand your business to a new market, you may need cost effective French translation in boosting sales.

9- Dépaysement

This word is often seen in the list of the world’s untranslatable words. Dépaysement is used to express the feeling of bewilderment as well as disorientation a person might experience completely foreign environment.

For instance, what a French person might feel when first arriving in the middle of China.

Dépaysement doesn’t apply to shift to a strange place physically; it can also be utilized to describe a transformation in a person’s mental state.

10- Chanter en yaourt/yaourter

The word means yogurt in English.

It’s utilized to describe singing in any foreign language and finding the words incorrect or filling in the words with sounds such as tra-la-la.

So, these few of the untranslatable words suggested by a reliable French translation company in Mumbai that you must keep note of.

In Conclusion

Ensuring that they fit the context, including any untranslatable phrases or words in your content will enable a French person to feel that you truly understand their language as well as their culture. Of course, you need to ensure you are using them correctly at the time of translation so that a French person doesn’t make fun of you.

Consider taking the help of an expert native translator at Tridindia who can fulfil your French translation needs. Contact us at +91-8527599523 or simply request an free quote.


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