Translation is the root of Shakespeare’s presence in Asian theatre cultures. Translations of a play, the text in Shakespeare’s English and / or a new original script perform a range of functions in adaptation strategies. The archival treatment of A|S|I|A preserves the integral role of these scripts in a performance by presenting the video-recording together with the production script; script translations commissioned by the archive into English as a global language; and, given finite resources, into Chinese, Japanese and Korean, as the languages of the principal communities that produce and watch Shakespeare in our region. This innovative—and labour-intensive—commitment to multi-directional translation is intended not only to share the imaginative resources of Asian Shakespeare productions with the international community but also to mutually enrich regional language and performance cultures.
1) Production scripts
belong to the theatre company. Each is time-coded to the video-recording also contributed by the theatre company. Where there is a significant difference between the script and video, we treat the performance footage in the video as primary and amend the script. As a general rule, we allow discrepancies of one to two lines to stand, as a natural gap between script and performance.
A|S|I|A translations are of several kinds, depending on a script’s function in the performance approach as a whole, and on the materials collected:
2) Direct translation:
employed for translating original (non-Shakespeare) scripts or portions of a script into English; for re-translating some modern translations of Shakespeare into modern English; and for translating any script into Chinese, Japanese or Korean.
3) Shakespeare-equivalent script in English:
if a close translation of Shakespeare’s play was used for the production script and was an important component in the performance strategy, we frequently do not re-translate the script into modern English. Instead, we create an equivalent script in Shakespeare’s English by editing his text. This conforms to a standard touring practice of Asian productions where Shakespeare’s text is used for English subtitling of a script that is a close translation.
4) Audio transcription:
employed for supplementing missing parts of a script, and for multilingual dialogue. If improvisation is intrinsic to the performance, a greater degree of discrepancy between the script and actual dialogue is left to stand.
5) Subtitle translation:
adopted where the video-recording contains subtitles produced by the company and no script is available. If the script is available it is used instead of subtitles.
(i) Translators work on a common script that contains the production script and translations in parallel languages, and includes editors’ comments in all languages. They also work with reference to the video-recording.
(ii) All translations are edited for accuracy, stylesheet consistency and conformity to the overall standard of direct translation in the archive. Editors and translators regularly exchange roles.
(iii) Annotations of culture-specific terms, idioms and references may be added by translators and editors, and are displayed in the Notepad at the appropriate time-code of the video.