Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Silver Linings

Faraz Maqsood Hamidi honours Aurora’s Silver Jubilee
Updated 22 Jan, 2024 04:31pm

I am honouring Aurora’s Silver Jubilee with 25 untranslatable, foreign words that every advertising professional must know.

Here goes:

Komorebi: Japanese, for ‘sunlight that filters through trees,’ the way a powerful concept filters its light across brand assets.

Saudade: Portuguese, for ‘a nostalgic longing for something that no longer exists, knowing that it may never return’ – much like your salary slip from six months ago.

Verschlimmbesserung: German, for ‘an attempted improvement that only makes things worse,’ the way your client makes design changes over your shoulder.

Agua-Viva: Brazilian (Portuguese), for ‘jellyfish,’ but the literal translation means ‘alive water’ – like your sink-or-swim presentation in a boardroom of sharks.

Meerschweinchen: German, for guinea pigs, or literally ‘little sea pigs,’ which makes no sense whatsoever – much like the feedback on most of your storyboards.

Tokidoki: Japanese, (and super-fun to say out loud) for ‘sometimes,’ like occasions where you do make it to dinner, at home, with family, if you still have one.

Kuchisabishii: Japanese, for ‘lonely mouth,’ a literal translation for the ‘longing to put anything in your mouth (pencils, nails, toothpicks, your foot?)’ to kill boredom.

Krankenwagen: German, for ‘ambulance,’ or the sound often heard from cranky account executives looking to let off steam on the designers in the studio.

Wihajste: Polish, for ‘placeholder’ (pronounced: vee-hay-ster) from the German, ‘wie heißt er’ (what’s it called…?), much like your newly appointed creative director.

Papillion: French, for ‘butterfly’ (pronounced: pap-ee-yon), like many ad agency interns floating around the office who, frankly, should have stayed in their cocoons.

Myötähäpeä: Finnish, for ‘second-hand embarrassment,’ like the time your boss was yelled at by the client for a mistake you were telling him not to make all along.

Yalla: Arabic, for ‘hurry up, let’s go, or right now,’ depending on how close you are to the deadline, if you’ve crossed the deadline, or if the client is at the front door.

Die: Hebrew, for ‘stop’ or ‘enough’ (also daj in Bosnian), but of late unheeded among those who ‘lie and deny’ the atrocities committed in the name of self-defence.

Ikigai: Japanese (literary), for ‘The Fruit of Life,’ a philosophy that collates all of life’s elements to ‘keep calm and carry on,’ especially if your agency just got fired.

Lebensmüde: German, for ‘life+tired,’ as in having lost all sense of hope, purpose and meaning stacked with an air of chronic depression. Or, another day spent revising your concept.

Puto: Filipino, for ‘steamed rice cake,’ which explains a lot of brand/bland managers these days.

Winkel: Dutch, for ‘shop,’ in the way some brain-dead procurement executives have a way of negotiating creative excellence right out of their multinational life.

Sanguessuga: Italian, for ‘blood-sucker, leech or bed bug’ and often used to describe a person who revels in exploiting others for personal gain. Also, procurement.

Sussura: Spanish, for ‘whisper,’ much like the rounds of gossip over many rounds of coffee that go around the agency over the latest office romance, or break-up.

Cwtch: Welsh (yes, it’s only consonants), for ‘cuddle,’ to describe that honeymoon period an agency and client enjoy at the start of their doomed relationship.

Kunst: German, for ‘art’ or specifically art that’s created by hand, by art directors. (The fact that it sounds like something else should probably not be on your canvas.)

Forelsket: Norwegian, for ‘the indescribable euphoria experienced as you begin to fall in love’ whether that’s with a significant other or with your very first, ill-fated idea.

Commuovere: Italian, for ‘heartwarming,’ in relation to a story or television commercial that moved you to tears.

Luftmensch: Yiddish, for ‘someone who is a dreamer’ or quite literally an ‘air-person,’ like some copywriters who forget that they’re paid to meet deadlines.

Jugaad: Urdu, for ‘ensuring that things happen by hook or by crook in spite of having minimal resources.’ Or a day in the life of advertising in Pakistan.

Faraz Maqsood Hamidi is Chief Creative Officer & CEO, The D’Hamidi Partnership, a worldwide partner agency of WPI.