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The Meaning of the Word Volume V

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Nov 22, 2019 8:45:00 AM
Dr. Nelva Lee

I love comedy. I love jokes. It is a proven fact that comedy and a good joke in particular that leaves you laughing is like medicine. Laughing releases toxins and decreases cortisol. Laughing improves our immune system and decreases stress hormones, thus leading to our healing and overall health. Cancer patients nationwide are given laughing sessions to aid with their healing and recovery. Laughing for healthy individuals keeps them healthy and young. A smile actually improves the muscles of your face and thus makes you look younger and keeps you younger looking longer. I love comedy. I love to laugh.


Many streaming services offer comedy a la cart, there are comedy clubs in every major city, and comedians grace us by hosting award shows and the like. Laughing is a powerful drug that we should indulge in as often as possible.


Laughing and the jokes that generate them are universal, thy are not indigenous to the west and in fact have different roles in cultures around the world. One such culture is the Indonesian culture, where they have a word that is untranslatable into English:


Indonesian — “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”

How would you attempt to interpret Jayus into your target language? Why is Jayus untranslatable as a single word in most languages? Do you have a similar word in your target language? What is the role of laughing and joking in your culture? Why is it that unfunny jokes can still make us laugh? Do you have an unfunny joke to try to make us laugh? 

I believe it is important to preserve the fidelity of words while still being accurate. This is often difficult to do from one language to another. This is why in critical communication such as Medical and Legal circumstances it is imperative that we do not use Google Translate and similar translators that do not convey meaning. Trained interpreters are the only ones who are able to do this seamlessly. 

I love comedy, I love a good laugh. It is my secret youth potion. I highly recommend it to everyone. Especially if you are having a stressful day. Try it on for size, just get a streaming service and watch a good comedy show. does a body good! 

Now it’s your turn. Do you agree with the analysis above? Why or Why not? Please explain in the comments section below. Do you have a story of a word choice that tripped you up? Or a story of an interpretation gone awry? If so, share with us at


Dr. Nelva Lee, is the CEO and Founder of MiTio Inc. an Accredited Online Certificate and Diploma Program for Medical and Legal Interpreters and Translators. MiTio Inc. is also an Interpreting Agency specializing in delivering VRI and OPI to over 200 languages to include ASL with our state of the art interpreting platform accessible via any device to include smartphones.

Topics: Medical Interpreter, Medical Interpreting, education, MiTio Family