Are There Things That Don’t Translate Well into Words?

One could claim that a good writer could make any scene come alive.  I wonder if that’s true.  I often think there are topics that don’t translate well into words, that should be left to photographs or artwork. 

Example:  I have a very complex set of angles in my ceiling since they follow a complicated roofline.  It would be fruitless, in my mind, to try to recreate this in words.   So, do you agree?  Do you have other examples?  Different opinions?

9 responses to “Are There Things That Don’t Translate Well into Words?

  1. Hey, y’all.
    It’s Saturday morning and I’m just getting going. Everything seems complicated and complex, like your ceiling. If and when things clear up, I’ll be back. Meanwhile, have fun with this writing topic.

  2. Paint drying
    A colonoscopy
    Accordion Music

  3. Describing color to someone blind
    A baby’s laugh
    True love
    A writing challenge

  4. until you have walked in my steps feeling the events in my life.
    joy of childbirth,
    sorry at the loss of a loved one.
    disapointment recieved by your spouse,
    Hurt given by your children,
    feeling depression.
    Joy of writing a great peice and haveing people like it.

  5. Ann, I’ve been thinking about this question in a more serious manner the last few days. For 10 years I had the honor to teach a Sunday School class for the deaf people in my community. Most of my 20+ class members were over the age of 50 and only had a working vocabulary of 850 words; the American Sign Language standard in the 1970 and ’80’s. They could read, but concepts such as “peace of mind” was “Piece of mind,” literally in their vocabulary. Concepts in the written Bible were most difficult to translate into a limited vocabulary. It forced me to think outside the regular Bible Teaching Box. With my class, Photos and pictures were sometimes the only tools available to convey the essence of the lesson.

  6. Okay, I’ll be the one to mention the elephant in the room…


    On a spiral staircase.

    Under a ceiling featuring a very complex set of angles.
    (The ceiling, that is.)

    • Um. Just in case anyone thinks I’m weird, the spiral staircase reference pertains to Ann’s original challenge. Try asking someone to describe a spiral staircase without using his/her hands.

  7. On a spiral staircase? That takes mo imagination than I have at the moment. Enticing, though. enticing.

    BTW, there’s a funny story today at the Elder Storytelling Place for everyone who remembers their teenage a years and sex. Or the lack thereof. Part of the title : The Search for the ….

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