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Lost of Meaning in Shakespeare's Translations

  • Date Submitted: 01/08/2013 09:48 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50 
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Any encounter that we might have had with Shakespeare's work via books, theater, or, in a more modern era, films, has probably left most of us more than confused. We know that Shakespeare's plays are extremely hard to understand because of the ambiguity in his topics and the multiple meanings and interpretations that the readers and audience could give to his passages. To make things even harder, the language he used is not the same language we use nowadays. Because of this, many have tried to “translate” Shakespeare’s work into a easy-to-read English, however, when all the factors that make his plays difficult to understand are together at the same time, this becomes a not-so-easy job. Throughout this paper, I will analyze and compare Shakespeare’s original texts to some of the translations to Modern English that have been published.
Shakespeare wrote his plays between the late 1500’s and early 1600’s, an era in which the English language was undergoing numerous changes called Early Modern English. Since the grammar, semantics, and terminology used in that era differs quite a bit from our everyday language, a person from today’s time might have some difficulties trying to interpret and understand the language in the plays. However, a “different edition” of the English language was not the only factor that made Shakespeare’s plays difficult to understand. Being one of the greatest writers of all time, Shakespeare made sure that his plays were not boring, so he added a lot of suspense to his plays, giving the audience an opportunity to make up their own interpretation. In addition, some of the topics Shakespeare wrote about are confusing since he does not give us exact definitions but rather clues. To make things easier for the audience and readers, many book publishers and editors have tried to “translate” his work into Modern English. However, the art of translation is not an easy task and does not always result in a perfect product. The problem becomes even...

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