Untranslatability in practice: Challenges to translation and interpreting

Joanna Drugan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The most common reason for untranslatability in modern times is the cost of translation. This chapter focuses on the economic and practical aspects of providing translation and interpreting. In this sense, untranslatability becomes a political and ethical issue as well as a linguistic, cultural, economic and practical one. Examples from international migration and UK maternity settings are used to illustrate some of the main challenges and effects of such untranslatability. Considering the cost of translation leads us to important questions about the costs and consequences of untranslatability. The conclusion also suggests questions for future research in Translation Studies in relation to this interpretation of the concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUntranslatability
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315112442
ISBN (Print)9781138082571
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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