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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Translations by Brian Friel. Translations by Brian Friel. The action of this play takes place in late August at a hedge-school in the townland of Baile Beag - an Irish speaking community in County Donegal.
The 'scholars' are a cross-section of the local community, from a semi-literate young farmer to and elderly polygot autodidact who reads and quotes Homer in the orginal. In a nearby field camps a recently arrived detachmen The action of this play takes place in late August at a hedge-school in the townland of Baile Beag - an Irish speaking community in County Donegal.
In a nearby field camps a recently arrived detachment of the Royal Engineers, engaged on behalf of the Britsh Army and Government in making the first Ordnance Survey. For the purposes ofr cartography, the local Gaelic place names have to be recorded and transliterated - or translated - into English, in examining the effects of this operation on the lives of a small group of people, Irish and English, Brian Friel skillfully reveals the unexperctedly far-reaching personal and cultural effects of an action which is at first sight purely administrative and harmless.
While remaining faithful to the personalities and relationshiops of those people at that time he makes a richly suggestive statement about Irish - and English - history.
Get A Copy. Paperback , 91 pages. Published April 27th by Faber Faber first published More Details Original Title. Baile Beag , Ireland Ireland , Other Editions 9. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Translations , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Translations. Jan 29, Marthine rated it it was amazing.
This devastating, gorgeous play about the Ordinance survey of Ireland in the early 19th century is one of the best, if not the best, of Friel's plays. It is a direct comment on the replacement of Gaelic with English, and it also comments on the role of mapping as an assertion of imperial control through language and representation over land.
The whole point is that you have to suspend your disbelief really hard via the Brechtian device of having all characters speaking English but the Irish char This devastating, gorgeous play about the Ordinance survey of Ireland in the early 19th century is one of the best, if not the best, of Friel's plays.
The whole point is that you have to suspend your disbelief really hard via the Brechtian device of having all characters speaking English but the Irish characters being unable to understand the English characters and vice versa.
Like, if we watch a translation of a Sophocles play, we pretend we're watching Ancient Greeks speaking Greek to one another, as do the actors. Friel's incisive choice here highlights the constructed nature of the theatrical experience while simultaneously reminding the contemporary Irish audience for whom it was originally written that they have had their access to the Irish language destroyed by colonization. So, watching the play in English, they are really put on the same side as the British, and so the audience is forced to always be aware of their own political and cultural context as colonized people whose language has been so lost that they wouldn't even be able to understand their own ancestors.
In other words, by having characters pretend not to be able to understand each other in a play about language being lost, watchers then are pulled out of the suspension of disbelief that a play requires. He's reminding the watchers just how thoroughly they've lost that language.
Totally brilliant. And clever! And sweet. You care about all of the characters a lot, and the fact that we know, due to the formal choices, that the Irish characters' culture, language, and way of life was lost, and any resistance was ultimately fairly futile. And, it was Liam Neeson's first real breakout role, in Field Day's production of it way back when in Derry. View 2 comments. Jan 22, Amalie rated it it was amazing Shelves: ireland , racism-slavery-post-colonial , plays.
I absolutely loved 'Translations'! It is a great play. It's beautiful, funny and, in a sense tragic. I would love to see it performed on stage. The British is closing down Irish country schools in their process of "civilizing" Ireland.
The irony is that Ireland has a richer history than its colonisers. Irish people demonstrate mastery of the classics. The British, in comparison, cannot speak Greek and Latin, and bumble on about maps. Through the characters, the Irish feelings of the British impos I absolutely loved 'Translations'! Through the characters, the Irish feelings of the British imposition of their authority are clearly expressed.
These views allow the reader to form their own opinions, and decide whether the Anglicization of the Irish language will benefit Ireland, or whether it is an attempt to eradicate the Irish language and culture. This plot makes one to think about the importance of preserving one's language and cultural identity. It is estimated that, currently, about 3 languages die per year. Along with that, the cultural identity, heritage and the history of these native groups disappear from the world.
At that thought, this play is pretty sad. View all 6 comments. Sep 04, Bettie rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Radio 4 listeners. Shelves: published , autumn , brit-isles-ireland , play-dramatisation. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. I love the author - kiss kiss kiss I love the content - kiss kiss kiss I love what this book stands for - kiss kiss kiss I love me I view spoiler [ Bettie's Books hide spoiler ] you are welcome to link to your blog at the beginning or end of your review, but the review itself must be posted on Goodreads You would have thought they had had enough of poking readers already. I love the author - kiss kiss kiss I love the content - kiss kiss kiss I love what this book stands for - kiss kiss kiss I love me I love you I love everyone who thinks this way - kiss kiss kiss Feb 09, Rachel rated it it was amazing Shelves: irish , plays , own , read-with-nehal , northern-ireland , Translations , set in a fictional Donegal village in , is a play about a 19th century Ordnance Survey wherein a mass Anglicization of Irish-Gaelic place names occurred.
This cartography project sets the context for Friel's narrative, a story which, for its many layers, is ultimately a bold examination of the function of language. The characters in the play, a group of students who attend a local hedge school, speak only Irish. In actuality the actors on stage are speaking English, and when Eng Translations , set in a fictional Donegal village in , is a play about a 19th century Ordnance Survey wherein a mass Anglicization of Irish-Gaelic place names occurred.
In actuality the actors on stage are speaking English, and when English-speaking soldiers arrive, the audience is meant to infer that the two parties are unable to communicate. The multilingual Irish schoolmaster and his two sons exist at this intersection of language and culture, and the liberties they take in translating back and forth remind us that translation isn't a wholly linguistic effort: it's a complex process in which meanings become twisted and manipulated.
Though the students speak very little English, they fluently read Latin and Ancient Greek, this integration of dead languages paralleling the probable future of Gaelic.
It also provides a delicate subversion of the traditional colonial narrative which hinges on the conqueror imparting culture upon the 'barbarians' - in Friel's play, the Irish are the educated, the multilingual, the classicists. The function of English then becomes one of eradication rather than enlightenment.
In examining Ireland's complex socio-linguistic history, Translations is a fascinating look at colonization, English imperialism, and the function of language as a tool that's at once manipulative, restrictive, and liberating. Although this is a play whose themes are perhaps more interesting than the story itself, the characters are all endearing, and the plot, though slow-moving, keeps you engaged through its conclusion.
A challenging, erudite, and moving work. I'd love the chance to see this performed live some day. A real treat! I liked the way that the play works on different levels. I have also listened to the BBC Radio adaptation which was marvelous. Perhaps I wouldn't have loved the written play as much if I didn't have those voices in my mind Sep 16, Maxwell rated it really liked it Shelves: drama , ireland , , First read in spring of April I enjoyed this even more the second time!
It was wonderful to revisit it after having read it while studying abroad in Ireland. It not only brought back so many memories for me, but it was easier to understand as well. Having seen the play in Dublin after reading it the first time really helped clarify the image of the play in my mind.
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