Translating Drama:

Speaking the Unspeakable in Other Words


  • Mohammad Shahadat Hossain Faculty Member of Access Academy, Asian University for Women, Chittagong



drama translation, loss and gain, translation shift, translatability, untranslatability


A play is meant for stage performance. Translating a dramatic work is, in many ways, different from translating the other genres of literature, for the language spoken in a play is colloquial and not necessarily formal. It is not simply an act of transferring linguistic or verbal rhetoric per se; it is an act of cultural shift and remaking, involving cross-cultural interaction of homogeneity, and adaptation of cultural heterogeneity. It is both a linguistic and cultural exchange of conversations and dialogues. Drama translation involves actability of the characters, performativity of the roles, clarity of thoughts, and brevity of speeches. Time, place and action, as well as the stage and the audience, are to receive special consideration as far as drama translation is concerned. The paper investigates the extent to which translation theory gives rise to the strategy of “intentional betrayal” to attain the “translatability” of the “untranslatability.” The paper again attempts to validate the analogical dichotomy between theory and practice in translation studies, focusing on the dynamics of translation based on a translational process of loss and gain.




How to Cite

Hossain, M. S. . (2017). Translating Drama: : Speaking the Unspeakable in Other Words. Crossings: A Journal of English Studies, 8, 78–90.