UNTRANSLATABILITY OR TRANSLATORS’ INCOMPETENCE? THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL ELABORATIONS

Artur Swiatek, Poland, ID LLCE2016-343;        The objective of my presentation will be the elaboration on the issue of untranslatability, a ‘nightmare’ for novice translators and a tremendous challenge even for professional Polish-English, English-Polish translators. According to Catford (1965), untranslatability is divided into linguistic and cultural. Linguistic untranslatability occurs when there is no lexical or syntactic substitute in the target language for a source language item.  Cultural untranslatability, touches upon translating the names of objects characteristic of a language community (meals, clothes, habits, customs, etc.) into another language in which these objects are non-existent. The theoretical part of my talk will focus on the provision of main definitions of the notion of untranslatability. The practical part of the presentation, will refer to the selected instances of the translators’ failures in providing relevant translations with reference to the selected idioms, diminutives and AVT (audio-visual) sources. The concluding part of the talk will attempt to clarify whether the quoted instances denote merely translation failures or whether they may already reflect evidence of untranslatability.

Keywords: untranslatability, Polish-English, English-Polish, problems.