(Un)translatability and cross-cultural readability

Yifeng SUN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article revisits the issues of untranslatability in the context of cross-cultural communication, with a special emphasis on how an inevitable concern with readability complicates the issue of (un)translatability. The anxiety over untranslatability underpins an interminable drive for readability, along with the desire for relevant cultural, or better still, cross-cultural, articulation and representation in the target text. This is particularly apparent in literary translation, which is expected to manifest its literariness, a subject that is of clear relevance to the readability of translation. Literary translation is primarily about translating the untranslatable or the seemingly untranslatable. To create and increase translatability the variability of translational situations are directly confronted. It is thus necessary to examine the different types and degrees of untranslatability constraining and shaping translation. Further, readability is rarely possible without some kind of adaptation and familiarization so as to produce some degree of artificial fluency and naturalness in translation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-247
Number of pages17
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


Dive into the research topics of '(Un)translatability and cross-cultural readability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this