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CULTURAL WORD PROJECT: Translate "Saudade" !

Dear Portuguese speakers, we have a challenge for you: help us translate the word “SAUDADE” below!

As you know, this is a difficult word to explain to non-native speakers -- yet such a great expression! We will take the best pieces of everyone's translation and post one final, collaborative version so that all our Facebook fans can learn about it.

The more people write their own translations, the better. Ready...set….go!

October 1, 2013



Saudade, it is all that has left of you. Memories of how happy we have been, memories of how angry you left me sometimes. The things that we have built and destroyed together. Oh, and how many times we had been destroyed and hurt and i pulled you up like all the times you pulled me up. Everything that we have shared, all the saddest times, all the happiest times, all the weirdest times, all the funniest times. Now you are gone, and i don't have a word to express my feelings; it is not sadness because you gave me happyness, it is not happyness because you are not with me now. I have no word to express myself to you, unless if you know what means saudade.


it this kind of answer is acceptable?


I think this is one of those Zen Master tricks, where they give their students an impossible task in order to lead them to enlightenment.


There's an interesting difference between "saudade" and "nostalgia".

NOSTALGIA is the lack you feel of something you'll never witness again. Like your childhood, the 90's, places that are already destroyed, a birthday party or special vacations.

SAUDADE is the lack you feel of something you really can see again, even if it takes decades to happen (or might even never happen). Like typewriters, places that still exists, people you can meet somehow (like family, teachers or friends), smell of books, old vinyls, letters hand-written at mailbox, a toy from your childhood, a meal you can only eat in a restaurant very far away from you at the moment.

That's why many of brazilian cemiteries is called "Cemitério da Saudade". We actually believe in life after death, where we'll see people we miss and died before we did. There's a beautiful poetry behind this thought. And that's why we never feel "nostalgia" about someone, but we can perfectly have "saudade" of any person, dead or alive.

Of course there's brazilians that doesn't believe in life after death, but catholicism is the oficial religion in this country and the most part of the other religions has christians bases or interact with spirits that were alive in Earth at some moment before. It's rare to find a brazilian who thinks there's no life after death somehow.

So those people you care most, those people you really love, those people you always will be there somehow, no matter the distance, are the people which SAUDADE you will probably have if you spend enough time without their contact.


"Eu tenho saudade de voce" = I miss you (in context)


This seems simple at first, but I guess it depends on the context. Here are some possible meanings: I yearn for; I long for; I pine for; hanker; Nostalgia; to pine for; languish; to miss; to wish for; longing.

I would say hanker, is one that fits the best in my opinion. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hanker


But more like a "hanker" for something in the past...


Based on the information that I found from various sources online, "saudade" most directly translates to "longing" or "yearning".


Someone has yet to explain to me how "saudade" isn't simply translated as "longing" or "pining". To me, it just looks like plain old Portuguese self-importance (I can say that because I am Portuguese by the way).


Saudade is the noun for the verb miss. I miss you = Eu tenho saudade de você In this case the verb "miss" is translated into two words "tenho" (verb) and "saudade" (noun). As an example I show you a wrong grammatically translation, but how the literal meaning would be in English: I have 'missing' for you. (wrong translated from: Eu tenho saudade de você). As you can see, it's nothing more than the word "miss" transformed into a noun! It also usually goes with two verbs: "ter" (have) and "sentir" (feel). Eu tenho saudade(s) Eu sinto saudade(s) I hope this can help!


i'm missing you


"Saudade" doesn't mean "falta", the literal translation of "miss". But "miss" is the word currently and commonly used to translate "saudade", despite the fact it doesn't mean "saudade" literally.
Different languages have distinct amount of words, therefor implicating that some words doesn't have an exact translation. And I think it should be okay. Every word in every language have something unique in the way it is used to communicate the speaker's mood/feelings along with a main information, and by these characteristics some words are hard to translate.

Mario Quintana, brazilian poet, wrote: "Esses que pensam que existem sinônimos, desconfio que não sabem distinguir as diferentes nuanças de uma cor.". Or "Those who think that exist synonyms, I suspect that they don't know how to distinguish the different shades of a color".

My suggestion is: or you choose the common translation "miss", or simply don't translate it, assuming that is a Brazilian thing and no other word catches correctly the meaning.

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