Senior Member
In the context below; extracted from a series synoposis;
The goal was to make it a story of multi-dimensional people - characters with deeply developed, relatable traits - doing their best to respond to an often incomprehensible situation.
Padilha sees The Mechanism as a concrete entity fueled by greed, weakness and the thirst for power - a globally relatable concept that’s present in every society, regardless of ideology. It is something that can spread if not checked​
what may relatable mean?
Thanks in advance.
  • cherine

    Arabic (Egypt).
    Relatable means we can relate to it. Another synonym is "to identify with" which means: relate to, understand feelings, consider related to, associate with.
    So maybe general meanings/translations can be: قريب، واضح، مفهوم، يمكن فهمه، يمكن استيعابه، يشاطر، يشارك في مشاعر/آلام، يشعر بارتباط مع، يندمج مع

    In the sentences you have, we can translate "globally relatable concepts" as وهي مفاهيم معروفة في الدنيا كلها or maybe مفاهيم كَوْنية.
    As for "relatable traits", I suggest صفات/طبائع قريبة للمشاهد، أو: مفهومة I would go for mafhuuma because it helps with the rest of the sentence:
    أشخاص طبائعهم/طباعهم مفهومة يفعلون ما بوسعهم لمواجهة مواقف غير مفهومة/يصعب فهمها
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    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Could we use يتماهي here? I.e. سمات يمكن للمشاهد التماهي معها?


    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Could we use يتماهي here? I.e. سمات يمكن للمشاهد التماهي معها?
    I wouldn't. This word is problematic. I've read it in MSA texts giving so many different meanings, and no one seems to know the exact meaning. Even worse, it doesn't actually exist in dictionaries! The closest I could find is مهى that has several meanings mostly related to water but it can mean in some contexts to make thin or soft or gentle. I don't see it as working for 'identify with'.


    Senior Member
    Arabic - Syria
    Could we use يتماهي here? I.e. سمات يمكن للمشاهد التماهي معها?
    Yes, of couse. Or simply شخصيات سماتها مماهية غاية في النضوج
    Even worse, it doesn't actually exist in dictionaries!
    You won't find it in classical dictionaries simply because الماهية(and التماهي) is a recent made up word which consists of 'ما' and 'هي'.
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    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    You won't find it in classical dictionaries simply because الماهية(and التماهي) is a recent made up word which consists of 'ما' and 'هي'.
    Oh, you mean ماهيّة! This one I know but I don't really understand how it can come to mean 'relatable' or 'identify with'. You can use it if you want, but I certainly wouldn't, at least not in this context. It's too confusing.


    Senior Member
    Arabic - Lebanon
    As it is always the case in Arabic, there's no consensus about how to translate the psychological notion of "identification". Some terms I found are: التماهي، التقمص، التشبه، التوحد، التمثل. The word التماهي, as momai said, is a new word that is related to "ماهيّة" coined from ما+هو. Being too technical, and probably not used in all Arab countries, no wonder one cannot find it in any Arabic dictionary.

    Thankfully, the context of the asker's quote doesn't require such technical use, as Mahaodeh pointed out. That's why, Cherine's approach is spot-on. An additional suggestion is, ليس غريبًا على أحد.


    With my highest respect I believe that here a more simple yet more accurate semantic approach can be taken!
    Following on from the previous points:

    Please note that to 'identify as' is not the same as 'to identify with'. Although they share the root identify they are not the same concept!

    1)To identify as:
    التعريف الذاتي/تحديد الهوية الذاتية
    Identify as - which can be extended to 'to self-identify as' - means how one defines oneself. " ...أعرّف نفسي/هويتي كالتالي"

    2)To identify with:
    يشعر بإنتماء\بتشابه (ذاتي
    To 'identify with' is actually an IDIOM (important to note) !
    It means in a convoluted, 'umständlich' way, that you feel that your identity and collection of experiences are similar to that 'with' (and not 'as') which you choose to identify.

    Hence we can find accurate synonyms to 'identify with' : to feel a certain similarity to, to see oneself in, to find something close to home, to feel a personal connection with, to feel a sense of belonging.

    Identify with:
    يشعر بتشابه مع
    يشعر بإنتماء مع
    يجد/يرى نفسه في
    يشعر بإرتباط (شخصي) معه
    يشعر أنه قريب على القلب

    If one extrapolates further - when one finds similarities between one's own identity/set of experiences and that of someone else - then one can assume that one is then able to empathise with someone else with a greater facility. Hence a slightly looser translation for 'to identify with' is I can empathise with.

    يشعر به
    يتعاطف معه

    Therefore I would expect relatable/'can identify with' might generally be translated as:
    يمكن الشعور بتشابه معه
    يمكن الشعور بإنتماء معه
    يمكن الشعور بإرتباط معه
    يمكن إيجاد النفس فيه
    يمكن رؤية النفس فيه
    يمكن التعاطف فيه
    يمكن الشعور به

    Identification (as) - تعريف ذاتي؛ تحديد الهوية
    Identification (with) - شعور بتشابه ذاتي٫
    شعور بإنتماء

    To 'relate' literally means here to join two ideas together or successfully compare: oneself to something else يماثل٫ يشابه

    So if we were to shorten the phrase as it has been in English٫ perhaps it would look like this:

    Relate + able:
    قابل لإيجاد ارتباط ذاتي
    قابل للمماثلة الذاتية
    قابل للتشبيه الذاتي
    قابل للتعاطف

    شخصية يمكن للجميع ايجاد ارتباط ذاتي معها
    شخصية يمكن للجميع المماثلة الذاتية معها
    شخصية يمكن للجميع التشبيه الذاتي معها
    شخصية يمكن لأغلب المشاهدين التعاطف معها

    Slightly different angle on it - just suggesting that actually 'identifying with' is an idiom and doesnt require the process of 'self-identification' to take place - indeed it suggests that it has already taken place, and now one is simply drawing analogies and likening oneself to something else, or feeling a sense of similarity.

    Arabic is not my first language so feel free to correct and review critically, it is more the semantic approach that I was on about!
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