Play translation

I’ve been bookmarking sites about translating plays over the years, and just as I rarely clean house unless I have visitors coming, sharing my bookmarks is going to be the motivation I need to actually put them in order.

Yes, it’s odd to start with the “other” category, but I happen to think that this is the best place to start — for me and for you.

Other resources

TinT – Theatre in Translation network – “The Theatre in Translation network (TinT) brings together drama translators and others – directors, dramaturgs, producers, agents – committed to the promotion of plays in translation. We aim to foster the circulation, publication, and especially production of drama in translation.”
Some overlap with my list here, but we all update periodically, so definitely check them out.

The Theatre Times – “Worldwide theatre news”

“Translating theatre: ‘foreignization’ on stage” – a network of resources on this topic
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/translatingtheatre/
Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/translatheatre

New International Theatre Experience (NITE) is a global service organisation dedicated to support and empower theatre makers.

Eurodram – Network for theater in translation (website in German)
Extensive Eurodram website sitemap — not sure what is going on here, but definitely worth exploring. Most pages in French, but see this “How It Works” page for links to information in different languages.

European Theatre Convention – promotes theater in Europe, perhaps a way to stay abreast with theater in your source language country or countries?

Theaters that perform translations (and perhaps accept submissions)

The Theatre in Translation network has a more extensive list than I was able to create, and so rather than duplicate, I’m sending you there: http://tintnet.org/groups.html

Some advice before you go: Please check each group’s website for up-to-date information and submission guidelines before sending anything. Some theaters only accept agented submissions, some require initial letters of inquiry — it is important to follow guidelines specific to each theater. Just as journals suggest purchasing a copy before sending a submission, consider attending a show before inquiring if a theater will read your play — especially if it’s a local theater.

Another source of information is the Dramatists Sourcebook, 26th ed., 2010. Look for it in your library.

The Theatre Communications Group is a professional organization with a directory of theaters. You can search their theatre profiles database if you’d like to find information about a specific company or do a targeted search.

Journals that publish (or at least invite submissions of) plays in translation

Asymptote; The Mercurian; InTranslation (associated with The Brooklyn Rail); Prism International; Third Coast; Reunion: The Dallas Review; [please use comments to suggest additions to this list]. (Note: Don’t take my word for it — please check journal submission guidelines before sending your work.)

Books, journals, and articles about play translation

The Mercurian: A Theatrical Translation Review, publication of the Department of Dramatic Art of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (publishes plays in translation, reviews, essays)

See this page for a bibliography: http://www.translatingtheatre.com/bibliography.html (not all are specifically about translating plays)

Finnish academic Sirkku Aaltonenuwasafi’s page on Academia.edu: https://uwasa.academia.edu/SirkkuAaltonenuwasafi

The December 2016 issue of Words without Borders features six “micro-plays” in translation, and two fantastic essays about the role of the translator in theater by Paul Russell Garrett and William Gregory

Article by Philip Boehm in American Theatre, “A Narrowing of Vision Is Never the Answer” urging companies, theaters, and publishers to broaden, not narrow, their options when they are programming their season, casting their plays, and deciding what to publish.

Articles about and reviews of translated plays themselves

http://www.americantheatre.org/2015/10/14/bill-rauch-why-were-translating-shakespeare/
Article by the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival about the initiative to “translate” 36 of Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary English. (I inserted quotation marks because I think “adapt” is more apt.)

http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/giving-will-the-shakes_74650.html
http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/michael-feingold-on-osf-shakespeare-translations_74651.html
And Michael Feingold’s take on it, in two parts (for one, he laments the playwrights were not given more leeway).

https://soundcloud.com/playonosf/play-on-podcast-episode-1
Podcast of discussion with two OSF actors after a first reading of the translated/adapted text of Pericles. At around 10 minutes, one actor talks about an omitted “Oh!” that he really liked because it gives clues to the character’s emotion or motivation. Something to consider when translating to a different language — what to do with those interjections?

http://www.fullmeasurepress.com/pages/OtherPages/Resources.html
Articles by Kent Richmond, a proponent of “translating” Shakespeare. (And that’s all I have to say about that!)

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2003/mar/12/theatre.artsfeatures
This article uses the 2003 London productions of The Three Sisters and Witness to discuss different approaches to translating classic and contemporary drama.

Playwriting resources that might be of use to translators

Play translators with helpful websites

Neil Blackadder, translator, professor of drama: http://www.neilblackadder.com/

See also list of translators on the TinT website: http://tintnet.org/people.html (are you getting the picture that the TinT network is a very useful resource?)

University programs or courses


This is definitely a work in progress. Please feel free to leave your suggestions for additions (or subtractions) in the comments.

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