Linguistic Corner: Serendipity

Miloš Matović 1 year ago Comment

Serendipity is frequently listed among the most beautiful English words, as well as among the ones most difficult to translate to other languages.

serendipity

Serendipity is frequently listed among the most beautiful words in the English language, as well as among the ones most difficult to translate.

It essentially means “a pleasant surprise” or “an accidental discovery”, something nice that we find without looking for it. Whether serendipity occurs by chance or by design of a higher intelligence depends on your beliefs, but it certainly does happen to all people once in a while.

Although it wasn’t frequently used until the 20th century, the term was coined by writer and politician Horace Walpole back in 1754, after the title of a Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, with Serendip being an old English name for Sri Lanka. The word is derived from Persian Sarandib, which is ultimately derived from Sanskrit Sinhaladvipa, literally meaning “the land of lions”.

Of course, an encounter with lions is not very likely to be a serendipitous event, but words really walk in mysterious ways.

Like This Article? Subscribe to Receive More Via Email

  • receive a digest with new articles
  • up to 2 emails a month

Comments

Related Articles

Trascreation for the Life Sciences: Why, When and How

2 weeks ago

Transcreation is most definitely not one of the things that spring to mind when we talk about the medical translation or localization of pharmaceutical materials. With all the seriousness of study protocols, summaries of product characteristics and correspondences with the regulatory bodies, we tend to forget that medical and pharmaceutical companies also need marketing solutions to propel their business and reach their customers and clients.

Continue reading

Medical Translation Challenges

2 months ago

The task of language professionals is essentially the same across industries and can always be summarized as helping companies and organizations communicate their messages to the target audiences, partners and clients. In this article we take a look at what medical translators need to know to make this communication possible in the vast and the diverse world of life sciences.

Continue reading