Publication details [#3670]

Manzoorul Islam, S. 1995. Translatability and untranslatability: the case of Tagore’s poems. Perspectives 3 (1) : 55–66.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Person as a subject


The point of departure is that, after the initial popularity in the West which brought Rabindranath Tagore the Nobel Prize (1913), interest in his oeuvre has dwindled. The main explanation seems to be that generally translators consider Tagore ‘difficult’, indeed ‘untranslatable’. The author points out that this attitude comes to connect with selection of poems for translation and the difficulties of accepting translation at all and in an inadequate understanding of the poetic creation. It is discussed how Tagore’s language is unique, and how poems interrelate with others by Tagore, and even the author’s innermost thoughts. Arguing that providing translators come to an intensive understanding of Tagore’s texts in a translational dialogue and when it is accepted that Tagore’s complete work can also be viewed as one text, the author believes that adequate, if not perfect translations, are possible.
Source : Abstract in journal