Type / Thesis

Frustration and Challenge of Literary Translation: On Translating J. M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World

Tsung-chi Chang

Page / 89-105


John Millington Synge has been well-acclaimed as one of the representative writers in twentieth century Irish literature. Of all the plays by Synge, The Playboy of the Western World is the most highly-regarded. So canonical is the play that it becomes the most popular work in the Abbey Theater, founded by W. B. Yeats in 1904. As some critics contend, J. M. Synge’s superb blend of comic scenes and serious topics renders it much more challenging when interpreting the play. Based on the frustration and challenge the translator experienced while translating the play, this paper aims to discuss the problems related to language, culture and literary translation. It is a universal truth that translation is by no means easy; by contrast, literary translation is more than a difficult task. Hence while the translators of Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World experienced a sense of failure and frustration in the rendering process, they also learned to appreciate the playwright’s art and philosophy of life, and thereby gaining a deeper understanding of the complicated linguistic, cultural, and social relationship in the text.

Keywords : literary translation, J. M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World
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