Natural building is a global movement and many of us travel to work sites and teaching/ learning places far from home. We enjoy the mixing of culture and the many backgrounds that are shared.

For 6 months or so I have been posting weekly images on the German facebook page of There are plans to expand this into a full German website of the n: brand, so translating articles is part of what I do.

If you’ve ever used Google translate or bing or other online translating-robots, you’ll know the limitations- they can only ever be the first step, maybe a jump, but not secure and good communication.

When language becomes specific to building or talking permaculture, your small travel dictionary can’t deliver either so today I’d like to share two useful tools, one online and one in your hand glossary.

1. is an online glossary of terms around building that is published by the German head organization for Earth building, Dachverband Lehm. It covers English, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and French.

2. A number of years ago at a Natural Building Colloquium I purchased a pocket size “Field Glossary for Sustainable development and Ecological Agriculture” published by for English and Spanish language.

If you have suggestions for other sites or travel-size books let me know- I’d love to find a Kiswahili version to continue working in East Africa.

1 reply
  1. Joshua Konkankoh
    Joshua Konkankoh says:

    I am a social entrepreneur in Cameroon
    I am project manager of the Ndanifor Permaculture Eco Village project in Bafut, North West Region of Cameroon.
    I have read with interest Words for Natural Builders and Permaculturists and I am writing to request modalities of building professional relations with Elko Cole such that we can carry our collaborative action in Earth building trainings in Cameroon.
    Accept my highest esteem for the great work you are doing in encouraging resilience around the world.
    Joshua Konkankoh


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