We love music here at CETRA, and we decided to celebrate National One Hit Wonder Day in our own way. Celebrated on September 25, National One Hit Wonder Day typically recognizes a single song or artists that have one major hit. (We love you Vanilla Ice!)
We decided to apply this day to words and languages. Instead of one hit songs or artists, we polled our multilingual staff for their recommendations of words in their non-English language that have no equal in English. These are words that cannot be translated directly into English. Therefore, they are one hit wonders in their own language!
We hope you enjoy CETRA’s One Hit Wonders:
Spanish, Submitted by Evan Schapiro, Director of Translation Services
Vergüenza Ajena — That feeling of embarrassment you might have when you see something or someone doing something clearly embarrassing. The thing is, the person doing the thing might not be feeling the embarrassment, but you are feeling it for them. This is sometimes referred to as “secondhand embarrassment.”
Duende — The feeling of awe and inspiration, especially in nature or when experiencing something completely beautiful. It creates a sense of beauty or magic.
Polish, Submitted by Dominika Weston, Global Resources Manager
Siemka – An abbreviation for “jak sie masz.” It is a short direct form of a greeting a lot of teenagers use nowadays.
Irish, Submitted by Sara O’Regan, Senior Translation Project Manager
Craic – Fun, enjoying the company of others, news or general goings on. It might be used when describing a good time at an event by saying “The craic was mighty” or “It was good craic,” but you could also use it when asking someone if they have news/gossip (“Any craic?”).
Korean, Submitted by Hyunjoo Park, Account Manager, and Robin Smith, Interpretation Department Manager
눈치 – Common sense, situational awareness or social awareness
답답하다 – Stuffy, stifling or suffocating
Italian, Submitted by Margaret Becker, Interpretation Project Manager
Boh! – An expression or sound that has many meanings, including: I don’t know; Maybe nobody knows; I’m not interested in knowing; and It doesn’t matter anyway.
Czech, Submitted by Jiri Stejskal, CEO
Švejkovat – To play the fool. Based on the main character of The Good Soldier Švejk, a novel by Jaroslav Hašek. Švejk’s subversive humor lead to other Czech words such as švejkárna (military absurdity).
German, Submitted by Angela Wende, CMO
Gemütlichkeit – Conveys the idea of a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer. It can also mean coziness, peace of mind, and a sense of belonging and well-being springing from social acceptance.