Monday, September 26, 2011
I did this illustration over the weekend for Lucy Sisman and Tamara Glenny, my editors at Wwword.com. To get myself in the right frame of mind for a Brazilian term I listened to Jobim and Luis Bonfa and Joao Gilberto for a bit and thought to myself that it was getting warmer in Brazil right now as it's getting colder here. Then we sat down and watched a Brazilian film ("The Year My Parents Went On Vacation", which I highly recommend.) The trick of illustrating an untranslatable word involves the same difficulty as translating it: it's complex or ineffable or, more often, a case of "you had to be there"; or it's all three. You'll understand the word "saudade" better after reading this month's Untranslatable column. The illustration is almost as helpful as a few hours listening to Jobim.