Re: Untranslatable Texts

From: Will Wagers (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 17:50:09 EDT

Micheal Palmer wrote:

> I am legitmately puzzled by the use of 'untranslatable.' I don't think I've
> ever seen an untranslatable text. I've seen plenty that were very
> difficult, and I've done translations which I later felt were terribly
> inadequate. But I've never encountered a text that I could understand, but
> could not put into English (or Spanish) in at least some way.

Dear Michael,

Here is one way of looking at it:

Simple untranslatability - the source text cannot be meaningfully
Linguistic untranslatability - a source text ambiguity is a
functionally-relevant feature;
Cultural untranslatability - a functionally-relevant situational feature
is absent from the culture of the target language;



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