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    The Translation of Dramatic Texts

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    موسى جباري
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    الجنس : ذكر
    عدد المساهمات : 50
    تاريخ التسجيل : 29/07/2010
    العمر : 30
    الموقع : الرياض

    The Translation of Dramatic Texts

    مُساهمة من طرف موسى جباري في الإثنين أغسطس 02, 2010 7:54 am

    The Translation of Drama

    The Translation of Dramatic Texts:

    It is true that the text of a play is another genre of literary language; yet one has to admit that a play text in general has certain characteristics which the translator of drama has to take into consideration when undertaking the translation of drama texts.

    A play text is piece of literature written with a view to being performed on a stage usually. The dramatic text is thus related to such paralinguistic systems as pitch, intonation, inflection, loudness, as well as gestures in addition to the system of interaction between the actors who perform such a play, and their use of space on the stage. The theatre text is also characterized by dialogue, as well as presence of stage directions within the body of the text that are eliminated in performance and replaced by other signs or actions. Unlike the other types of literary genres, a play text is read as something incomplete, because the full potential of the text can not be realized but in performance. In fact, there is a notion of multiplicity in the act of reading a play text:

    a. The play text can be read as a part of an academic course ( i.e. as a piece of literary reading).
    b. The play text can be read a directional reading (i.e. taking its direction on stage into consideration (whether to act it or not).
    c. The play text can be read an actor's reading with emphasis on the extra linguistic features of the signs such as pitch, tone, etc.
    d. A play text can be read as a post-performance reading. In other words, is in a dialectical relationship with its performance on stage. (McGuire, 1980). The nature of the play text constitutes a problem for the translator, because of the many non-linguistic factors that are involved in the process of translating it. The translator of the play text ( who undertakes a translation for the theatre) requires and awareness of multiple codes within and without the play text. In the case of poetic drama, the translator has to care for metrical features; but in the case of naturalistic dialogue, the translator has to reproduce in the T.L. the appropriate speech rhythms. The translator of the dramatic text should also take into consideration that he has to be aware of the changes in register, tone and style, that are bound to certain context(Ibid).

    In the translation of dramatic texts, different translators have used different approaches in carrying out their task:

    1.Translating the theatre text as a literary text or work:
    In this method of handling the theatre text, the text is treated as a piece of literary work in which the translator is concerned with being faithful to the original (S.L.) work. In fact, this approach is the most common practice among the translators of theatre works, particularly when the translator undertakes the translation of the complete theatre works of a certain author or playwright.

    2.The S.L.-culture oriented approach of translating theatre texts:
    In this method, the translator tries to reproduce certain S.L. cultural features in his rendering of the text in an attempt to make use of such elements as a means of adding some comic flavor, or try to be faithful to the S.L. text.
    3.The performance oriented method of translating theatre texts:
    In this approach, the translator takes into consideration the dimension of performance in his rendering of the S.L. text in terms of fluent T.L. speech rhythms which can be uttered by the actors who without any difficulty, as well as the equivalent registers and accents in the T.L. in addition to the omission of certain passages that are too closely bound to the S.L. culture and linguistic context.

    4.The poetic approach of translating theatre texts:
    In this method or approach, an S.L. verse dramatic text is translated into a T.L. poetic dramatic form that is thought to be the most appropriate equivalent of the S.L. text. It often happens, however, that the reproduced T.L. version of the dramatic text becomes obscure and vague with regard to its meaning when the poetic approach is adopted.

    5.The co-operative approach of translating theatre texts:
    This approach involves the co-operation of at least two persons to carry out the production of the T.L. text one of whom is usually an S.L. native speaker (or someone with a very good command of the S.L. ). This approach takes into consideration the problems related to the performance of a theatre text such as the different theatre conventions of the S.L. and the T.L. cultures; as well as the different styles of performance that are employed by the speakers of the two languages (i.e. the S.L. and the T.L.) for instance, the performance of a play written by Shakespeare would take a shorter time if performed in an English theatre than it would take if performed in a French theatre or a German one. Because of the different acting conventions between English, French and German, the acting conventions and audience expectations (that differ from one country to another) are part of the making of a performance; and are not less significant than the conventions of the written text. When some conventions (that have functional significance in the S.L. ) do not have a functional significance in the T.L. theatre, the translator's task becomes more difficult. This is why the role of the chorus in a Greek tragedy is minimalised by the translator as he reduces (or may reduce) the number of lines that constitute the chorus, or shift the chorus to an individual speaker in order to conform to the conventions of contemporary theatre.
    When translating a play text that is remote in time, the translator may face the problem of the existence of more than one version of the text with some crucial differences between them. The well known Shakespearean play Othello, for instance, has come down to us in two different versions: the first Quarto which was published in 1622, and the First Folio that was published in 1623. A third version which seems to be an amalgamation of both the Quarto and the Folio was published in 1630, and was given the name, the Second Quarto. There is no agreement, however, as to which of the versions is more authoritative. Sanders (1984) holds the view that the first Quarto and the first Folio are derived form two different manuscripts of equal authority for which Shakespeare himself is held to be responsible that he had composed at different periods of time. The translators of Othello have to decide whether to follow the Quarto, the Folio, or both of them. The translators of Othello into Arabic, for instance, are inconsistent in handling the different versions. Let us consider some textual differences in the two versions of Othello:

    Ch. 2, sc.3: Quarto 1:"Enter Othello, Cassio, and Desdemona"
    Folio I :"Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and attendants."
    Jabra: يدخل عطيل, ديزديمونة
    Mutran: يدخل عطيل و ديدمونة و كاسيو ونفر من حاشيته
    Jamal: يدخل عطيل و ديدمونة و كاسيو و أتباع
    Al-Khamiri: يدخل اوتيلو وديدمونة وكاسيو وبعض الأتباع

    Jabra Ibrahim Jabra seems to follow Quarto I. in this instance; Mutran, Jamal, and Al-Khamiri follow I.
    Ch.2, Sc. 3, 221-2: Quarto I: "And Casio high in oath; which till tonight I ne'er might see before".
    Folio I:" And Casio high in oath; which till tonight I ne'er might say before."
    Jabra: وكاسيو يصيح بشتائم لم أكن حتى الليلة أعرف نطقها
    Mutran: وكاسيو يقذع بألفاظه قذعاً ماسمعته من قبل الآن
    Jamal: وسمعت كاسيو يشتم ويلعن مستخدماً ألفاظاً لم يسبق لي أن لفظتها من قبل
    Al-Khamiri: وسمعت كاسيو يسب سباً لم أسمع مثله من قبل
    Jabra, and Jamal seem to have followed Folio I, Mutran and Al-Khamiri seem to
    have followed Quarto I. in the instance under discussion.

    Theatre texts that have become down to use from remote or distant periods may also contain certain words the meanings of which have considerably changed in the course of time. Such words may become pitfalls for the translator who is not aware of this fact. For instance, in Othello, chapter 4, scene 1, 184-5:
    Desdemona is described by Othello as:
    "Of so high and plenteous wit and invention"
    The word "invention" which is used by Othello as he speaks of Desdemona' i.e. in its Shakespearean ( Elizabethan period ) context meant " imagination", which is totally different from the contemporary denotation of " invention". Unfortunately, some translators have rendered it in accordance with its cotemporary signification; and have missed the mark or its original ( Elizabethan ) sense:
    It has been rendered as ( فطنة ) by Mutran, (مهارة) by Jamal, and ( ابتكار ) by Jabra.

    The written text in fact is the raw material on which the translator has to work, and it is with the written text itself that the translator must begin. This does not imply that the translator is free in translating the dramatic text as pure literary piece of writing. The language of a play text mainly consists of dialogue. The dialogue unfolds in an orderly manner both in terms of time and in space; and is much related to the extralinguistic situation which includes the speakers themselves, as well as their environment which surround the speech act, or the utterance. The situation sometimes affects or interferes with the dialogue and the dialogue in its
    turn affects the situation. In this case of translating a play text, the translator has to take into consideration and attend to the fact that a literary text which is written to be performed (i.e. a play text) is written for voices , and contains many extra linguistic auditive and visual signs in addition to the coded gestures that pattern within the language of the play to serve the function of the text . the translator should therefore think deeply of the function of S.L. play text , and has to make the necessary modifications in order to reproduce the equivalent function of the S.L. in his rendering, i.e. in the T.L. play text (MacGutire,1980).


    Let us consider some examples of the Arabic translation of some textual material from

    Macbeth ( A ct V ):
    Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,
    Greeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools,
    The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle
    Life's but a walking shadow , a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    Told by an idiot full of sound of fury,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Signifying nothing.



    Khalil Mutran's rendering:

    كل ليلة تنقضي تتمهد لبعض الأناس الضعاف
    طريق القدر! انطفئ انطفئ أيها النور المستعار

    هنيهة ! ما الحياة ؟ إن هي إلا ظل عابر إن هي إلا الساعة التي يقضيها الممثل على ملعبه
    متخبطا تعبا, يتوارى ولن يرى. إن هي إلا أقصوصة يقصها أبله
    بصيحة عظيمة , وكلمات ضخمة على حين أنها خالية من كل معنى



    Muhammad Abu Farid's rendering:
    بل غد بعده غد وغد
    تحبو تلك الخطى القصار دبيبا

    تتوالى يوما فيوما
    إلى آخر حرف مسجل في الزمان
    كل أمس أضاء لحمقى
    في طريق يقضي لموت التراب
    أيتها الشمعة الضئيلة بعدا لك بعدا
    فإنما العيش ظل
    كخيال يمشي ,
    وكاللاعب المسكين
    في مسرح يضج ويزهى
    ساعة قدرت له
    ثم لا يسمع بعدها مدى الأيام
    إنها قصة يرددها المعتوه
    صوت وهيجه دون معنى
    It seems that Mutran has made substantial alterations to the text under discussion, since the style he uses is prosaic, and the effect of the original is much reduced.
    The significant repetition of the word "tomorrow" which functions as a means of reflecting the boring monotony of Macbeth's life has been distorted by the translator.
    He has also dropped the second line with its significant alliteration "pretty pace".
    His use of ولا يُرى after يتوارى seems vague and inexpressive, and therefore inappropriate. His rendering of the last two lines and use of بصيحة عظيمة as a translation of " full of sound and fury "is unfortunately inappropriate as well.
    The short and highly expressive conclusion of the dramatic lines under discussion has been much longer, and less expressive by the translator:
    كلمات ضخمة على حين انها خالية من كل معنى

    As for the second Arabic translation (i.e. that of Muhammad Abu Farid), the translator has attempted a poetic reproduction of the original text. He reproduces the repetition of the first line thought in a much less effective way; since the begins with it awkwardly: as:
    بل غد بعده غد وغد
    His literal rendering of the S.L. image of time " To the last syllable of the recorded time" seems inexpressive and vague :
    الى اخر حرف مسجل في الزمان
    His rendering would have become much more expressive and vivid has he made a slight change in the image thus :
    الى اخر حرف في سجل الزمان
    His rendering of the image concerning 'death', "dusty death" as : موت التراب
    Is also vague and inexpressive in Arabic. It would have been a much better rendering had he made use of the normal Arabic collocation of such an image by changing the word order into :تراب الموت ; or by simply using :تراب . (literary : dust)as a symbol of death.

    His translation of the image " Life's but a walking shadow " into Arabic in a literal way as : فإنما العيش ظل كخيال يمشي would perhaps have been better expressed as مالحياة الا خيال عابر .
    It is explicit that unless the translator of dramatic texts is aware of the difficulties involved in this type of translation, as well as the many unique features that characterize this literary genre, he is expected to make many errors and do much harm to the original text.

    حكايا قلم
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    الجنس : انثى
    عدد المساهمات : 2
    تاريخ التسجيل : 18/02/2011

    رد: The Translation of Dramatic Texts

    مُساهمة من طرف حكايا قلم في السبت فبراير 19, 2011 8:16 am

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    الجنس : ذكر
    عدد المساهمات : 50
    تاريخ التسجيل : 29/07/2010
    العمر : 30
    الموقع : الرياض

    رد: The Translation of Dramatic Texts

    مُساهمة من طرف موسى جباري في الثلاثاء مارس 06, 2012 6:45 pm

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