Notes on Metrical and Deictical Problems in Shakespeare Translation

  • Clas Zilliacus
Part of the The Springer Series on Artificial Intelligence and Society book series (HCS)


Taking examples from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It and Hamlet, Clas Zilliacus gives practical evidence of the degree of difficulty in a translation into Swedish which can claim to be similar to the source. Both syntactic and metrical problems are involved, added to which is the difference between Swedish and English blank verse. The deictical function (referral, indication, reference) is dealt with separately. How, for example, should the difference between “you” and “thou” be treated in a translation to a language which does not have corresponding forms? This may be a very important issue in a translation. Hamlet first says “you” to Horatio but he dies saying “thou”. This kind of difference in language may be used with powerful dramatic effect.


Swedish Version Unstressed Syllable Practical Evidence Metrical Problem Poetic Style 
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  1. 1.
    Levý, Jiří (1969) Die Uterarische Übersetzung: Theorie einer Kunstgattung, transl Walter Schamschula. Athenäum, Frankfurt, p 258ff.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Leighton, Lauren G. (transl and ed) (1984) “The translator’s introduction”. In: The art of translation: Kornei Chukovsky’s “A High Art”. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, p xxii.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abbott EA (1929) A Shakespearian grammar. Macmillan, London, p 153f.Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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  • Clas Zilliacus

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