LANGUAGE

The Hardest Phrase in the World to Translate: ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’

There is far more cultural content in that ceramic vessel than just a hot beverage

Matthew Clapham
A-Culturated
Published in
7 min readMay 14, 2024

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A person with long brown hair holds a cup of tea up to the camera, their face mysteriously obscured by the cup itself and the steam rising from it. The background is an out-of-focus rural scene.
What expression lies behind the fog? (Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash)

The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote that “if a lion could speak our language, we could not understand it.” In other words, because we do not have a shared experience and…

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Matthew Clapham
A-Culturated

Professional translator by day. Writer of silly and serious stuff by night. Also by day, when I get fed up of tedious translations. Founder of Iberospherical.