One day, translating will feel like rotation

There are some 6,800 unique languages in use today. Not every word translates perfectly, and meaning sometimes falls through the cracks. For instance, there is no English translation for the Japanese wabi-sabi—the idea of finding beauty in imperfection—or for the German waldeinsamkeit, the feeling of being alone in the woods.

Different fields of science, too, are languages unto themselves, and scientific explanations are sometimes just translations. “Red,” for instance, is a translation of the phrase “620-750 nanometer wavelength.” “Temperature” is a translation of “the average speed of a group of particles.” The more complex a translation, the more meaning it imparts. “Gravity” means “the geometry of spacetime.”