What is the difference between щиколотка and лодыжка, and which one is a better suited translation for "Ankle zips with reflective detailing"?


As a personal vocabulary exercise, I decided to translate the English descriptions in a clothing magazine into Russian. I'm using Yandex translate to guide me through the process, and I've noticed that sometimes it'll provide two different translations depending on whether I include closing punctuation with the English input.

In the magazine, a description at the bottom of a pair of athletic leggings reads, "Ankle zips with reflective detailing". Aside from "with", I'm not familiar with any of these words in Russian, so I typed the entire phrase into the translator, and, yes, received two different translations.

Detailed Question: The two translations I received are:

  • Молнии на щиколотках со светоотражающими деталями
  • Лодыжки молнии с отражающей отделкой

After some research, I understand that both "лодыжка" and "щиколотка" are related to the word "ankle", but I can't find a clear difference between the words, nor can I decipher which word would fit in the description I'm attempting to translate.

I also can't figure out why the word order and phrasing with the word "лодыжка" would be "Лодыжки молнии", but the word order and phrasing with the word "щиколотка" would be "Молнии на щиколотках".

The translations also provide two different translations for "reflective" and "detailing", although I think I understand the difference. From what I gather, "светоотражающий" refers more to a reflective surface, while "отражающий" refers more to the concept of mentally reflecting on, or looking back at, something, and "деталь" in this context is more like the little details on the surface of clothing, while "отделка" is more like the detailed "finish" or "trim" around the edges. However, I'm not positive about these assessments.

  • 1
    Your question might get closed by moderators because generally asking for translation is off-topic here. But let's hope it won't)) You can throw away the second translation straight away - it's total rubbish, doesn't make any sense in Russian. Лодыжки молнии... translates back as Ankles of a zip... or Zip's ankles..., whatever you prefer :)
    – tum_
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 19:13
  • I'm afraid you need to study some basic Russian grammar first.
    – mustaccio
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 20:27
  • 1
    Hello! It looks like your original question was too vague. There is no way to pick a "better" machine translation from the two, they are both worse. I've renamed your question so that it focuses on one objectively asnwerable part. Thanks and welcome to Russian.SE!
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


Лодыжка and щиколотка are synonyms in everyday speech, they both mean "ankle".

Some people use the word лодыжка for the ankle joint in the anatomical sense, and щиколотка for the protruding bone which is visible outside. But it's not a common distinction, and most speakers don't really differentiate between the two.

As for the translation, I think you're looking for this:

Молния со светоотражающей отделкой на щиколотке.

"Detailing" as in "ornamentation or decoration on a piece of clothing" would be отделка, not деталь.

"Reflective" as in safety feature is better put as светоотражающий "light-reflective".

Finally, со светоотражающей отделкой is better placed next to the word молния. Literally, your original phrase would read as "zips on ankles with reflective detailing", and it's not immediately clear which one has the detailing: the zips or the ankles.

It's obvious from the context of course, but it's stylistically better to avoid this confusion.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.