Drama Translation

Topics: Translation, Literal translation, Drama Pages: 27 (6017 words) Published: October 21, 2012

In general, translation is “rendering the meaning of a text into another language

in the way that the author intended the text.” (Newmark 1988, p.5)

However, the mission of a translator of a dramatic work is slightly different from any other literary piece. A dramatic text is written in order to be performed on stage. The

translator of such a text has therefore to bear in mind that the readers (i.e. the audience in this case) shall not only follow the written form of the script but also and primarily its

spoken version. This fact influences the work of a translator to a great extent. He has to chose words that are easily pronounceable by actors and comprehensible to the audience. At the same time he ought to aspire to maintain the meaning and form of the

original as much as possible so that the translation represents the goal and effort of the original author. Each translator aims at a maximal realistic authenticity, including both the inner (author’s and director’s notes) and outer language of the drama.

“Translation, the surmounting of the obstacle, is made possible by an equivalence of thought which lies behind the different verbal expressions of a thought. No doubt this equivalence is traceable to the fact that men of all nations belong to the same species. When an Englishman is thinking of the woman whom he describes as ‘my mother’, a Frenchman is thinking of ma mère and a German of meine Mutter. Among normal people the three thoughts will be very similar and will recall the same memories of tenderness, loving care and maternal pride. In consequence ‘my mother’ can be perfectly translated by ma mere or meine Mutter.” (Savory 1957, p.11) Savory (Savory 1957, p.49) furthermore states twelve rules of a proper translation: 1.

A translation must give the words of the original


A translation should read like an original work.



A translation must give the ideas of the original.
A translation should read like a translation.

A translation should reflect the style of the original.

A translation should possess the style of the translator.

A translation should read as a contemporary of the original.

A translation should read as a contemporary of the translator. A translation may add to or omit from the original.

A translation may never add to or omit from the original.
A translation of verse should be in prose.



A translation of verse should be in verse.
There is a close relationship between the author and the translator of a literary

work. Both of them have their own style of writing and expressing their thoughts. Nevertheless, the translator shall always be subordinate to the author whose text is considered the base of a dramatic text and its further stage production.

“A translation may include any of the idiomatic expressions which are peculiar to its language and which the translator sees fit to adopt; but it needs not, because of this, possess the style which the reader may expect. Style is the essential characteristic of every piece of writing, the outcome of the writer’s personality and his emotions at the moment, and no single paragraph can be put together without revealing in some degree the nature of its author. But what is true of the author is true also of the translator. The author’s style, natural or adopted, determines his choice of a word, and, as has been seen, the translator is often compelled to make a choice between alternatives. The choice he makes cannot be reflect, though dimly, his own style. What does the reader expect; what does the critic demand? One of the reasons for a preference for a literal translation is that it is likely to come nearer to the style of the original. It ought to be more accurate; and any copy, whether of a picture or a poem, is likely to be judged by its accuracy. Yet it is a fact in making the attempt to reproduce the...
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