Shakespeare and Translation for the Stage


Madalina Nicolaescu (University of Bucharest)

Marta Gibinska (Jagiellonian University)


Translation is the foundation of Shakespeare’s life in European theatres. Given the present investment in re-creating Shakespeare, a critical scrutiny of practices and strategies of recrafting him in translations for the stage is of paramount importance. The aim of the seminar is to explore the problems of translating Shakespeare’s plays for theatres which are not only part of other cultural traditions than English, but also for theatres operating in conventions other than the Elizabethan ones.

Discussions in this seminar will include both a diachronic and a synchronic dimension, the general idea being to bring together participants who are both researchers in the history of Shakespeare translations and practioners involved in on-going projects of translating the plays.  Discussions may revolve around concepts derived from translation studies such as “performability” (to be expanded and realigned with current views on stage translation as a theatrical practice) or the concept of “re-translation”. At the same time we would like the seminar to be context based, inscribing the translated texts in the histories of Shakespeare’s theatrical reception in various cultural and geographical spaces.

The areas which possibly suggest questions for members of the seminar to answer are as follows:

  1. Linguistic challenges concerning dialogue/monologue translation with particular attention paid to the character interpretation (remembering that words in plays always belong to characters).
  2. Cultural challenges concerning dialogue/monologue translation.( Challenges resulting from the encounter of different cultural codes governing the translation of dialogues/monologues)
  3. Translating for particular theatrical traditions. This issue may also include the discussion of the institutional “habitus” impacting Shakespeare translations across various periods in the development of  national theatres; comparative analyses of translations produced at different times and/or circumscribed by different theatrical traditions  cultural expectations are welcome)
  4. Translating for a particular director/actor; the varying degrees and forms of the translator’s agency as co-participant in the theatrical event; the issue of “co-operative translation”.
  5. Translating with an eye on censorship: political aspects of translation.
  6. Experience of speaking different Shakespearean texts in the same language: possible points of view of actors, directors, spectators.
  7. Translation as a tool in adapting Shakespeare to modernity/postmodernity; the impact of global media on the norms for Shakespeare translations and of the demands for instant accessibility that the present visual culture has shaped.


Please send 150-word abstracts and biographies to and before 31 March 2017.