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A collection of words that can’t easily and directly be translated to other languages.

Multilingual people know that there are concepts, feelings, and phenomena that can only be referred to in a single language. A community on Reddit called /r/DoesNotTranslate was created for this purpose. This community was abandoned, unmoderated, and dying down. Altona sought to revive this concept and offer an easy to navigate database of these words.

Of course, these terms can still be explained, but explanation is different from direct translation. In fact, even the attempt to explain some of these concepts can prove difficult: they’re usually culturally very specific. One example is “samar” in Arabic, which refers to deep conversations shared by friends at night. This concept is specific to the weather in Arab countries (you don’t freeze outside), and has many connotations with the desert and how friendship is seen in the Arab world.

These concepts will hopefully offer a glimpse into how rich cultures around the world are, as well as offer original insight into them.

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