Translation please

It seems that there is no fitting translation for the beautiful German word “Schadenfreude”. Though in dictionaries, you can find “malicious joy” or “joie maligne”, English and French speaking friends were slightly shaking their heads and told me that this does not really fit.

Schadenfreude is the feeling you have when you see someone else having an moment of bad luck. It’s like someone banging the head on a door which is not high enough, or someone getting wet in the street because a truck drives through the puddle next to the person, this kind of stuff. It’s generally not mean though it can be and stops as soon as someone gets harmed.

Any ideas?

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9 responses to “Translation please

  1. in English: schadenfreude

  2. What about “Schadenfreude”! Seems English uses the German word, too. Other examples are “gloating”, “mischievousness” (that’s a difficult one!) I found it on http://www.leo.org, a online dictionary I constantly use… Greets, Uli

  3. of course it should be an online dictionary…

  4. I’m always fascinated by untranslatable words – no matter what the language is. So Schadenfreude seems to be one of them… Good to know.

  5. Yeah, same here: Schadenfreude, with a few clicks you can also get French and Spanish possibilities.

  6. Hey – English-German on wordreference.com – that’s new!

    The problem with these translations is that you can’t really trust them. It happened to me several times that I would look up a word in a dictionary only to find out that I would never ever use the German word. That’s why I like to ask my dear friends about it 🙂

  7. Just below the WR definition you have a link to the forums (see: “Forumsdiskussionen mit den Wörtern ‘Schadenfreude’ in der Ăśberschrift”). Right now there are 3 posts, jump in!

  8. I read the forum discussion and it actually confirms my suspicion regarding translation. None of the English speakers seems to be very happy with the malicious joy one…

  9. Pingback: No translation needed « La puce, die Welt and everything else

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