PICK YOUR SHAKESPEARE
This website features a database of Brazilian Portuguese translations of the complete texts of William Shakespeare’s plays published in book form. Searches can be made by keywords. There is a detailed description of all available published translations, providing information such as the characteristics of each translational and editorial project, the translators’ biodata, the performances based on these texts and the reviews that have been located.
The translational project refers to the strategies employed by the translator, which reflect a series of complex choices: for example, the source text to be used; whether to produce a prose-only text or to adopt the same distribution of prose and verse (rhymed and unrhymed) as in the original plays; if verse is used, whether to choose decasyllabic or dodecasyllabic meter, or some other meter, or free verse; and whether to bring the language closer to that of the contemporary reader or to adopt a marked register (such as highly refined or archaic language).
The editorial project refers to the decisions made by the editors and publishers with respect to the product offered to the public. This product can come in a bilingual or monolingual format; it may be issued as a luxury edition, bound and printed on onionskin paper, or printed as a paperback, in a variety of shapes and sizes, including pocket size; it might include only the play itself or an annotated version of it (with explanatory notes, prefatory text(s), a bibliography, editor’s notes and reviews, in the case of new editions of previously published translations).
For at least the last three hundred years Shakespeare’s plays have been translated – and will continue to be translated – in different ways by different translators, in many languages and cultures. According to translation scholar Susan Bassnet, the translation of a theatrical play has an average shelf life of twenty-five years. Brazilian critic and Shakespearean scholar Eugênio Gomes agreed, and recommended that the translations of Shakespeare’s works in Brazil be redone periodically, as happens in other countries (Shakespeare no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: MEC, 1960). According to Gomes, each generation must pay such a tribute to the Bard. The resulting vast choice of translations subsequently allows the reader to pick, among the various “Shakespeares” available in Brazilian Portuguese, the Shakespeare closest to that of their imagination, the one they most relate to and corresponds to the image they have created of the author and his work. So, the purpose of this database is to help prospective readers by showing them the range of available options, thereby allowing for informed choices. New translated works and relevant information are added to the database on a continuous basis. To accomplish this, we count on the collaboration of our visitors, encouraging suggestions, criticism, comments, and complementary information. Please note that translations presented as adaptations are not included in the database.