The theory of translation deals with the problem of untranslatability. ~ No two languages having the same phonology. It’s impossible to recreate the sounds of a work composed in one language into another language. ~ No two languages having the same syntactic structure. It’s impossible to recreate the syntax of a work composed in one language into another language. ~ No two languages having the same vocabulary. It’s impossible to recreate the vocabulary of a work composed in one language into another language. ~ No two languages having the same literary history. It’s impossible to recreate the language and literary culture of a work composed in one language into another language. ~ No two languages having the same prosody. It’s impossible to recreate the prosody of a work composed in one language into another language.
The basic principle upon which the theory of translation rests is the principle of translatability, i.e. the tenet that reads: anything that can be said in one language can be said in another.There are two considerations that account for the necessity of the principle:-The first one is a proof by contradiction. If we introduce the notion of untranslatability, we have to define it and find some objective criteria to measure it. It goes without saying, it will only bring about an avalanche of perpetual disputes.The introduction of the term will trigger off the translators’ arbitrary treatment of the original. Such permissiveness will lend authority to liberal translation.In spite of the fact that the number of the adherents of the translatability is constantly increasing, there are some prominent scholars who are very much against it. They even write books about untranslatability. All the arguments against the principle of translatability boil down to the following list:1-It is a well-known fact that different cultures, i.e. different speech communities, segment extralinguistic reality in their own way. This makes for a specific semantic structure characteristic of this or that language and in some cases prevents adequate translation. The discrepancies in categorization bring about a great number of culture-bound units that name culture-specific elements, lexical lacunas and other kinds of equivalent-lacking vocabulary. Categorization and equivalent-lacking vocabulary.The phenomenon of different semantic segmentation or categorization acquires a special significance when the translator is confronted with the problem of conveying into another language a message which contains mention of something that is unknown to the speakers of that second language that is outside their experience. Indeed, there are many far more difficult cases in the sphere of culture-specific elements (реалии). What is one to do with such concepts as sauna (steam bathhouse, as in Finland), with the names of the following items of clothing: kilt (Scotland), sarong (Malaya), with the concepts characteristic of our Soviet past: ударник, бригада коммунистического труда, путевка, дом отдыха, etc.?Catford suggests that what we have here is something that cannot be translated because of the cultural discrepancy; therefore he introduces the term "cultural untranslatability. There are simple everyday words that also possess a specific national or "cultural" character; e.g. home, pet, pub are no less difficult to translate into Russian than sauna, etc.Each language is particularly rich in vocabulary for its own area of cultural focus: it is well known and often remarked upon that Alaskan Eskimos have words to denote different states, color, texture of snow (cf. Russian снег, наст). In Peru the vocabulary for such areas as hunting and fishing is highly developed, as is the vocabulary for cattle, etc. in Sudan. Thus, languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.
2-The extralinguistic context (затекстовый выход) of some texts is so wide that it is not possible to compensate for the lack in the background knowledge of the recipient. Some texts can only be perceived when the recipient is aware of a host of associations which can emerge from his previous textual experience. Thus, the texts that contain a lot of allusions are untranslatable. b. Allusions.The problem of preserving the intertextual potential of the text is especially urgent when the recipient of the text has cultural background that is poor even in comparison with an average language user. This is the case with adolescent literature. Any kind of reading presupposes emotional perception of a text. It goes without saying, that when the reader is young, the emotional perception dominates over the intellectual one. 3-For the same reason parodies are untranslatable. c. Parodies.Parody as a kind of secondary text has always been considered a typical example of untranslatability. But the author of a parody usually means quite a different communicative effect that can be achieved in the target language. 4-When formal properties of the language code are brought to the fore and made to bear particular significance, to become part of the meaning, translation proper is impossible. It happens in poetry, advertising and political slogans that rely on alliteration and rhyme. Puns also rely on coincidental similarities of form which are rarely replicated in other languages. That is why, poetry, advertising and political slogans and puns are untranslatable.d. Puns. So far we have been discussing difficulties arising from socioilinguistically determined lexical discrepancies. There are also grammatical factors which might set up obstacles in the translator's way.