Words Beyond Translation: Ojalá

Words Beyond Translation: Ojalá

Cusco, Peru How often does what we desperately wish for come true? Ojalá has always been one of my favorite Spanish words, perhaps precisely for the magic and the possibility that it holds. Although it is directly translated to “hopefully,” ojalá actually derives from...
Words Beyond Translation: Ichi-go Ichi-e

Words Beyond Translation: Ichi-go Ichi-e

A Japanese Encounter in Nepal Think of all the people you meet in your lifetime. What if you recognized each of those encounters as irreplicable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and gave them your utmost presence and attention? Literally translated into ichi (one)...
Words Beyond Translation: Retrouvailles

Words Beyond Translation: Retrouvailles

When I think of a reunion, I imagine two long-lost lovers running towards one another, limbs akimbo as fireworks play in the background. But in reality, encounters between loved ones are much simpler and meaningful than that. Rooted in the word “retrouver,” which...
Words Beyond Translation: Vale la Pena

Words Beyond Translation: Vale la Pena

Lazio, Italy Vale la pena is an Italian expression that has a direct translation but, as a native Italian speaker, I can tell you that it’s not quite the same. Vale la pena means “it’s worth it,” yet there is a keyword in the Italian phrase that is lost in the English...