The number of interpretations of a single sentence shows how difficult it is to translate literature.
Only those daredevils who translate literature know how undeniably hard it is to translate the texts. Not only are they not only informative, but also heart-moving, dense, emoting and thought-provoking. Plenty of ambiguities, assumptions, metaphors and language nuances. Thus their translation should depict the original accurately enough for the form of the text to preserve all ideas, messages, even the literary style of the writer. But it is never easy, while different languages percieve time, space and many other details differently.
From the moment of the first preview of “Hamlet”, the text was reinterpreted, retranslated and re-explained many times. The infamous phrase from Hamlet’s monologue, the question without answer: “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” was first translated to Polish in 1787. From that moment, translators came up with many different versions of the same phrase. This shows how many interpretations of a single phrase might appear: there are twenty two of them.
However, only one, the most literal version reigns supreme in Poles’ minds. Looking back to all of the turmoil with that one phrase particularly, one should be aware of the huge dilemma of the choice of words. Everything matters: their order, even the punctuation translators of literature face in their work every day. Each alteration creates new meanings.