Aspects of Untranslatability in Literary Translation

. Mohammed Salah GHARBI


 Untranslatability is a problem facing those who are involved in the translation studies then and ever. Meanwhile, it is still debatable whether translation is a skillful art or an independent science. Translation is divided into technical and literary. The first was agreed upon that it is accurate while the latter is still being involved in another debate to the extent that some theorists believe in the untranslatability; which means that translation is limited and cannot transfer all kinds of literary texts. The present research paper classifies the phenomenon of untranslatability into three categories each of which will be illustrated through clear examples, from some masterpieces of literature to poetic examples reaching sacred texts. The purpose of this study is to show the lack of an overall theory that might cover these specific texts and send readers back to read the source text - wherever the untranslatability is there - to fully and perfectly understand the meaning, and it will urge authors, poets and professionals to learn source languages in order to deeply understand the source texts.


 Untranslatability, Challenge, Literary Translation, English/ Arabic Source Texts.


Aldahesh, Ali. (2014). (Un)Translatability of the Qur’ān: A theoretical perspective. International Journal of Linguistics. 6. 23. 10.5296/ijl. v6i6.6497.

Bassnett, S. (2002). Translation studies. (3rd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.

Bassnett, S. (2007). A companion to translation studies. Multilingual Matters LTD.

Catford, J. C. (1965). A linguistic theory of translation. London: Oxford University Press.

De Pedro, R. (1999). The translatability of texts: A Historical Overview. Meta, 44(4), 546–559. doi:10.7202/003808ar

Gardner, M. (1996). The universe in a handkerchief. New York: Springer Science+Business Media.

Hatim, B. & Munday, J. (2004). Translation: An advanced resource book. London: Routledge. Taylor and Francis Group.

Hatim, B. (2014). Teaching and researching translation. (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Hermans, T. (2009). Translatability. In Mona Baker & Saldanha Gabriela. Routledge encyclopaedia of translation studies. London and New York: Routledge.

Munday, J. (2001). Introducing translation studies. (1st ed.). London : Routledge.

Mussin, A. (2012). Ordinary miracle, 2012 production, [Video file] based on R. Khalifa, E. Yuksel and J.Taslaman’s books. Retrieved from:

Proshina, Z. (2008). Theory of translation. (3rd ed.). Vladivostok: Far Eastern University Press.

Shaheen, M. (1991). Theories of translation and their applications to the teaching of English / Arabic-Arabic/ English translating. Thesis Submitted for the Degree of Ph.D. University of Glasgow.

Steiner, G. (1975). After babel: Aspects of language and translation. Oxford: Oxford University.

Taoufik. K. (2012). LATAIF WA AJAIB ALLUGHA ALAARABIA: The Subltelties and The Wonders of Arabic. Egypt : Hala Publishing.

Vinay, J. & Darbelnet, J. (1995). Comparative stylistics of French and English: a methodology for translation. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Vinuti, L. (2004). The translation studies reader. London and New York: Routledge. Taylor and Francis Group.

المراجع العائدة

  • لا توجد روابط عائدة حالياً.

جميع الحقوق محفوظة 2008 © مجلة الواحات للبحوث والدراسات
P-ISSN: 1112-7163
جامعة غرداية - الجزائر