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3. Creativity > 34. Extend Your Idea Space with Word Spectra

Extend Your Idea Space with Word Spectra

Visualize word clusters to help create and apprehend new concepts.

When translating text from one language to another, you might need words that seem to lie somewhere between the available words. When you apprehend new concepts, you might face a similar problem. Visualizing the spectrum of meanings that lie between two words can help you form new concepts and work with them more easily.

In Action

Here are two examples of foreign words that are useful, but that are almost untranslatable. Please note that you don’t need to speak German or Portuguese to appreciate the problem!

From German, we have Gemütlichkeit. It’s a description of a good mood, the warm feeling of being together with good friends, and it usually also involves wine or beer. How should it be translated? Happiness? Companionship? Smugness? It’s none of these and all three. Figure 3-4 shows a visual way to represent the untranslatable.


  

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