Translation: Thoughts

Okay, I have to admit, before I got here and got to the theater and sat down with the play and team,  I kind of had no idea what we were going to be doing this week. Would we be workshopping the play? Would I be re-writing? No, Bekah.  A translation workshop means that the play is being TRANSLATED. In other news, the earth is round, and cottage cheese pancakes with caramel creme are nice. You should have twelve. I digress.

A bit about the translation process. Pre-workshop, Marina translated the text sort of verbatim. Now Maxim, the playwright, is going through and specifying the text to get to the real meaning of each line. Nearly Line by line, he and the actors ask me what I meant, I try and articulate this, then they try and figure out the best way to express this in Russian. I never realized how stinking American my writing is. I guess that’s a no brainer, but every other line there’s a phrase that either doesn’t translate at all into Russian, or is something I just invented in my mindspace. Through the translation there’s a discussion about the play, and an informal cultural exchange. In a nutshell, it’s pretty much the best. It’s totally beautiful when people who can’t speak the same language (except I know babooshka; they Dolly Parton) finally, figure out what the other mean. There is this universal ‘Aha!’ when they get what a tater tot is. Yes, there are tots in my play. And weedwackers, which also do not make sense.

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