To be or not to be – that is the translation

All translations are not made the same

Only those daredevils who translate literature know how hard it is to translate the texts which are not only informative, but also heart-moving, dense, emoting and thought-provoking. Plenty of ambiguities, assumptions, metaphors and language nuances, 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.

Translate Shakespeare

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 which 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, one should be aware of the huge dilemma of the choice of words, their order, even the punctuation translators of literature face in their work every day.

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