The OED has shortlisted its new English words for possible inclusion in the dictionary next year, but can they be translated?

Those of you who follow us on Twitter will be familiar with our regular “Words with no English equivalent” game every Friday. Today, we thought it might be interesting to pick out some of the new words shortlisted by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for possible inclusion next year and see if they can be translated. The results were quite surprising, as other than the OED’s Word of the Year, “Squeezed Middle”, none of the others could actually be translated into the core European languages of French, German, Italian and Spanish. This is possibly because most of the words have emerged as a result of developing technology, internet communities or topical events, which are often isolated to specific countries or demographic regions. What do you think? Will technology soon make it impossible for new English words to be translated?

Below are the top words chosen by the OED for the UK and US shortlists:

Squeezed Middle – The section of society regarded as particularly affected by inflation, wage freezes and cuts in spending during a time of economic difficulty.

French: milieu pressé German: drückte Mitte Italian: mezzo spremuto Spanish: medio exprimido

Fracking – The forcing open of fissures in subterranean rocks by introducing liquid at high pressure, especially to extract oil or gas.

Gamification – The application of concepts and techniques from games to other areas of activity, for instance as an online marketing technique.

Clicktivism – The use of social media and other online methods to promote a cause.

Crowdfunding – The practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.

Hacktivism – Hacktivism (a portmanteau of hack and activism) is “the nonviolent use of illegal or legally ambiguous digital tools in pursuit of political ends.

Sodcasting – The act of playing music through the speaker on a mobile phone, usually on public transport. Commonly practiced by young people wearing polyester, branded sportswear with dubious musical taste.

Phone Hacking – The News of the World phone hacking affair is a series of events relating to the News of the World’s use of private investigators to illegally gain access to the mobile phone messages of a variety of people of interest to the newspaper.

French: piratage téléphonique German: Telefon hacking Italian: telefono hacking Spanish: teléfono hacking

Sifi – A bank or other financial institution regarded as so vital to the functioning of the overall economy that it cannot be allowed to fail, a.k.a. “systemically important financial institution.”