Afrikaans Translation Special Words

A translator offering Afrikaans or Chinese translation services knows very well that there will be some words that will give them more than just a simple headache.

For one, they may come across words that simply cannot be translated but which have a lot of meaning for a certain paragraph or chapter. On the other hand, they are likely to meet with words that translate in a completely different way than they believe.

In this respect, today we will be taking a look at some Afrikaans translation special words – basically, the words you’ll have to keep an eye on if you plan on translating text from Afrikaans.


As expected, this word doesn’t come with a literal translation. Instead, it has an English approximate – namely, wander or roam. You could the aforementioned to translated dwaal, but it actually means a bit more for the natives.

The word may also imply boredom, melancholy, the need for space, as well as someone being absent-minded. For example, if you see someone wander through a mall without any direction, you could say that they dwaal away.


If we were to literally translate this word, it would mean cake sister. However, its meaning doesn’t always imply a cake and never a sister. Instead, it is a word that’s commonly used on the theme of foods – basically, something that the locals would see as a South African delicatessen.

For example, if you feel like you’d really enjoy some pastry you happen to see, then you can freely say that someone could buy you out with koeksisters.


If you know a translator or someone that translates this term as cat’s anger or cat’s fury, then you should prepare to give them some new information.

While the word may be literally translated to cat’s fury, it is actually used to describe the behavior of a prankster – a naughty behavior. In fact, pranks would be the English approximate of this word.

However, keep in mind that it can refer to both naughty, harmless activities and to not exactly innocent, shocking ones.


This word is literally translated and does actually mean blissful happiness. However, the overachieving translator might have a really hard time finding an English word to encompass the true meaning of geluksalig.

This term is mostly used in Christian churches in order to describe a so-called divinely inspired joy. It may also be used to express superior enjoyment, relaxation, or gratification in any kind of situation.

Simply put, it actually means much more than just blissful happiness.


If you were to directly translate this word, you would be left with the We’re not sure there is one! phrase. Translating it in this way would make you be very far away from its true meaning.

Verpletter is actually used to describe a form of harsh demolition or destruction. Words like shatter or utterly destroy can be considered as English approximates. For example, verpletter can describe a certain disastrous event that had grave consequences as a result.


Literally translated to rhyme babble mouth, this word is believed to be one of the most unique ones in Afrikaans, as it has no English equivalent. However, if we are to put some thought into its translation, we can round it up to a rather simple meaning.

The Afrikaans word kletser is used to refer to a person who keeps on talking – talks and talks and talks -, usually to an old lady. As we combine it with rym, which means rhyme, we get what we know as a rapper.

Rymkletsers are, basically, rappers!


This word could easily enter the common vocabulary of a native English speaker if they knew its meaning. It comes with no literal translation and is used by Afrikaans people to refer to a broken, old vehicle.

If your can is old, malfunctioning, or just broken, you would say that it is a skedonk.


It can be translated, literally, to foot push, which may make some people think that, when your car gets stuck on the road or just needs a push to start, you would have to voetstoots it.

However, it means something completely different, as it refers to the property market. When selling or buying a property without any form of warranty, you can say that you bought or sold it without any voetstoots.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, translators that deal with Afrikaans don’t have it easy when translating to English. These were only a couple of the words that come with no literal translation and that are certain to make a translator struggle on the job.

Nevertheless, we can all agree that Afrikaans – as odd as it may sound – is one of the most beautiful and unique languages on Earth. If you ever come across a book translated from Afrikaans, you may notice that some