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30 June 2012 @ 12:36 pm
face, meet palm  
Not even sure how I stumbled across this, but here's yet another No Fear Shakespeare "translation":

[The immediately preceding line is "The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand..."]

Romeo: And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.

No Fear: and then I’ll touch her hand with my rough and ugly one.

I don't - I can't... One of the things that is so frustrating about these things is that when they're not changing one word in a perfectly comprehensible line (or in addition to when they're doing that, which is probably more accurate), they completely fail at giving any indication of the figurative language in the original. (They're completely crap at puns. Apparently they translate the Nurse's husband's "fall backward" as "have sex," which...might not be precisely *wrong*, but is totally tone-deaf about the fact that the phrase needs to have two meanings at once in order to be funny.)

I don't think the original line is particularly confusing for a student with a working knowledge of English (I can imagine a student being thrown by "touching hers" and not understanding the need to supply "hand" from the end of the line, but that's a type of construction one can find outside of Shakespeare, and a student who was confused by it would likely have difficulties with modern texts as well). But the translation takes no notice of the range of meaning suggested by "blessed," which leads into the dialogue between Romeo and Juliet ("If I profane with my unworthiest hand..." It's almost like Shakespeare planned the scene out or something). It's a part of Romeo's character, the need to deify Juliet, and it runs throughout the play - but it starts here, in this one little word. And implying that all of that meaning is extraneous, that the only thing that matters is the bare bones of denotation, makes me so frustrated. Students don't need any help thinking that, in my experience; they need resources that show them that connotation and ambiguity are crucial and fascinating - and instead what they get is No Fear Shakespeare.


(There's also meaning in the fact that this is a part of a rhyming passage, which isn't clear in the translation - and that's another thing students tend not to be sensitive to, shifts from prose to verse or blank verse to rhyme, so that's another way in which No Fear Shakespeare is fantastically unhelpful - but I've ranted long enough.)
litlover12 on July 1st, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain. UGH.
tempestsarekind: excuse me whattempestsarekind on July 2nd, 2012 07:40 am (UTC)
Why do these things have to exist???