Although human translators are generally more adept at expressing the meaning of sentences in different languages, there are still times when it can be difficult to find just the right words. I translate mainly from English to Bengali. In the my experience, I’ve come across quite a few words that can be hard to translate into Bengali. Here are examples of some:
In medical translation, the terminology is almost impossible to understand, unless you have a background in science or medicine. Still, it’s tough to determine whether you should translate certain kinds of terminology or not. It is common to translate some, while others are left as is. Consulting a doctor who speaks Bengali is recommended.
Snap out of It!
Many people consider idioms to be the most difficult thing to translate. Phrases like, “Snap out of it!” are very common in American English. You’d be hard pressed to find an educated person who doesn’t understand what they mean. But, the Bengali translation of the phrase poses problems. The closest you can get is by saying, “এটা থেকে বের হয়ে আস,” which actually means, “Come out of it,” which isn’t the same thing.
This beautiful word means a happy chance. In Bengali, the only equivalent you will find is “আপ্রত্যাশিত সাফল্য”. The actual meaning of those words is “fluke,” and although fluke is technically a synonym of serendipity, they don’t express the same exact meaning. Fluke can be used in a negative sense, but serendipity is always positive.
The words “mind-boggling” express someone or something having a powerful effect on the mind. There is no single Bengali translation to express this term. You can use “অভিভূতকারী,” but it just equates to “overwhelming.”
This cute word, when translated into Bengali, becomes আলিঙ্গন করা”. But a cuddle and a hug are not the same thing.
It’s only natural to come across words that give you a hard time with translation. The best you can do is find an expression that is similar enough in your target language. If an equivalent can’t be found, it’s best to drop that word entirely, or transliterate it instead of translating it.