Main Article Content


This study aimed at investigating the untranslatable cultural terms found in the novel from English into Indonesian since not all cultural terms in Source Text can be fully transferred into Target Text as well as the translator’s decision to overcome the problem of untranslatability since English and Indonesian have very different cultural concepts. This study was a data-driven study by using The Secret Garden’s novel written by Burnett (1911/2019) as the Source Text (ST) and its Indonesian translation by Kusumawardani (2020) (under the same title) as the Target Text (TT). The data were analyzed by using descriptive-mix-comparative methods that combined the theory of Newmark’s (1988) cultural terms categorization and Newmark’s (1988) translation procedures. As a result, to overcome the problem of cultural untranslatability, the translator frequently employs transference, naturalization, and notes procedures. From in-depth analysis, transference by retaining the SL’s cultures in the TL is used to avoid mistranslation because the lacks a formally corresponding feature. Naturalization is used by adapting the SL cultural-specific words to the TL's normal pronunciation and morphology because there are designation similarities in both the SL and the TL. Meanwhile, notes in the form of in-text annotations and footnotes were used to strengthen the translator's role by highlighting her in the translation results. Nevertheless, notes are commonly used in conjunction with naturalization to reduce strangeness, as leaving too many untranslatable cultural references weakens the translation result.


cultural terms cultural untranslatability translation procedures

Article Details

Author Biographies

Nadia Khumairo Ma'shumah, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Graduate School of Linguistics

Faculty of Cultural Sciences

Universitas Gadjah Mada


Sajarwa Sajarwa, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Lecturer in Graduate School of Linguistics
Faculty of Cultural Sciences

Universitas Gadjah Mada


How to Cite
Ma’shumah, N. K., & Sajarwa, S. (2022). Overcoming the problem of cultural untranslatability in Burnett’s the secret garden from English into Indonesian. JOALL (Journal of Applied Linguistics and Literature), 7(1), 34–50.


  1. Ariyaratne, M., & Gunathilaka, I. (2019). Overcoming cultural untranslatability: with special reference to Wickramasinghe’s “Gamperaliya” and its English translation, “Uprooted” by Lakshmi de Silva and Ranga Wickramasinghe. Volume III, 2454–6186.
  2. Bachmann, D., & Medick. (1977). Meanings of translation in cultural anthropology. In T. Herman (Ed.), Translating Others (pp. 33–42). ST Jerome Publishing.
  3. Baker, M. (2018). In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  4. Bassnett, S. (2002). Translation Studies (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  5. Bengtsson, M. (2016). How to plan and perform a qualitative study using content analysis. NursingPlus Open, 2, 8–14.
  6. Burnett, F. H. (2019). The Secret Garden (2nd ed.). Gramedia Pustaka Utama.
  7. Burnett, F. H. (2020). The Secret Garden (A. Kusumawardhani, Ed.). PT. Elex Media Komputindo.
  8. Carey, R. M., & Markus, H. R. (2017). Social class shapes the form and function of relationships and selves. Current Opinion in Psychology, 18, 123–130.
  9. Catford, J. (1965). A Linguistic Theory of Translation. Oxford University Press.
  10. Clark, G., & Phillips, A. (2019). Inside Book Publishing. Routledge.
  11. Cragie, S., & Pattison, A. (2017). Thinking Translation: Analyzing and Translating English Source Text. Routledge.
  12. Culler, J. (1976). Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature. Routledge.
  13. Denzin, N. (1970). The Research Act in Sociology. Aldine.
  14. Diaz-Cintas, J., & Remael, A. (2014). Audiovisual Translation, Subtitling (2nd ed.). Routledge.
  15. Herrero, L. (2005). Regional Indian literature in English: translation or recreation? In A. Branchadell & L. M. West (Eds.), Less Translated Languages (pp. 225–235). John Benjamins.
  16. Landers, C. (2001). Literary Translation: A Practical Guide. Multilingual Matters.
  17. López, I. H. (2018). Translating social and material culture: Sanditon in Spanish. Translation and Literature, 27(1), 53–69.
  18. Luo, T., & Zhang, M. (2018). Reconstructing cultural identity via paratexts: a case study on Lionel Giles’ translation of The Art of War. Perspectives, 26(4), 593–611.
  19. Machali, R. (2009). Pedoman Bagi Penerjemah. PT. MIzan Pustaka.
  20. Mastoyo, Y. T. (2007). Pengantar (Metode) Penelitian Bahasa. Carasvatibook.
  21. Moleong, L. Y. (2001). Metode Penelitian Kualitatif. PT. Penerbit Remaja Rosdakarya.
  22. Newmark, P. (1988). A Textbook of Translation. Prentice Hall International vUIO Ltd.
  23. Nida, E. A., & Taber, C. R. (1982). The Theory and Practice of Translation (2nd ed., Vol. 8). E.J.Brill.
  24. Nord, C. (2015). Translating as a Purposeful Activity: Functionalist Approaches Explained. Routledge.
  25. Pahlavani, S. D., Bateni, B., & Hosseini, H. S. (2014). Translatability and untranslatability of collocations in Ernest Hemingway’s novels. European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, 3(4), 1195–1206.
  26. Rosita, N. (2017). Translation techniques in Taj: tragedi di balik tanda cinta abadi novel. Lingua Didaktika: Jurnal Bahasa Dan Pembelajaran Bahasa, 10(2), 137.
  27. Sajarwa, S. (2017). Deconstructing equivalence in the translation of texts from French to Indonesian. Jurnal Humaniora, 29(2), 159.
  28. Sapir, E. (1949). Gradation: a study in semantics. In Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality. University of California Press.
  29. Saule, B., & Aisulu, N. (2014). Problems of translation theory and practice: original and translated text equivalence. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 136, 119–123.
  30. Sudaryanto. (1993). Metode dan Aneka Teknik Analisis Bahasa: Penelitian Wahana Kebudayaan Secara Linguistis. Duta Wacana University Press.
  31. Susanti, M., & Novalinda. (2017). Untranslatability found in J.K. Rowling’s English novel Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and its Indonesian version. Vivid: Journal of Language and Literature, 6(2).
  32. Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (2003). Major issues and controversies in the use of mixed methods in the social and behavioral sciences. In C. Teddlie & A. Tashakkori (Eds.), Handbook of mixed methods in the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 3–50). Thousand Oaks.
  33. Ukpong, D. E. (2017). Social and cultural barriers in translation. Human and Social Studies, 6(1), 77–87.
  34. Wang, J., & Sunihan, S. (2014). An analysis of untranslatability between English and Chinese from intercultural perspective. English Language Teaching, 7(4).