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The Hidden Text: Problems of translation in As You Like It

Gaby Petrone Fresco
p. 73-114

Texte intégral

7

1In starting a project of research on translation of theatre texts of the Elizabethan-Jacobean period, with the aim of determining the nature of dramatic language, and the particular problems of its rendering in translation, the first fundamental choice which is to be made is the choice of the method of analysis of the texts. As it is quite well-known, this is an extremely controversial matter, and the debate on how to analyse theatre texts, whether on the one hand from the point of view of the words spoken on the stage, or, on the other hand, from the point of view of the words printed on the page, is a crucial one not only for dramatic critics, but also for theatre translators. It is a highly abstract field of discussion, in which the main issue is the attempt to determine the nature of the relationship between text and performance.

2In the case of translation, this relationship is even more complex, as the necessary task is not only the decoding of the source language (SL) meanings produced by the original text, but also the re-encoding of them into different systems of signs, which will, in turn, have to be decoded by the target language (TL) audience.

  • 1 Cf. G. Melchiori, "Translating Shakespeare : an Italian View", Shakespeare Translation, 5 (Tokyo : (...)
  • 2 Cf. G. Melchiori Ibid.
  • 3 Cf. studies by critics such as Wilson Knight, Traversi, Knights. Danby and others, who, in the Fift (...)
  • 4 Cf. J.D. Styan, The Elements of Drama, (Cambridge U.P., 1960).
  • 5 Cf. M.H. Short, "Discourse Analysis and the Analysis of Drama", in Applied Linguistics, II, 2 (1981 (...)
  • 6 The communicative character of speech in drama, which is expressed in the multiple coding of the st (...)

3The theatre translator has therefore to look at the problem in a doubly complex perspective, which really justifies Giorgio Melchiori's definition of him as a 'multiple translator'1. The theatre text, again in Melchiori's words, is a sort of 'pretext'2, a hypothesis of a text, which can never become crystallised in its definitive form in the way a non-dramatic literary text can. In view of all this, a purely literary analysis3, according to 3. D. Styan, would "tend to confine itself to comments on the theme of the play"4, and, in any case, this literary analysis would only amount to an impoverished version of what the English stylistician Michael Short calls "the real stuff of drama"5, that is to say the implied meanings behind the words the characters speak6, which are often expressed in performance through the use of paralinguistic systems of signs, such as gesture, delivery, intonation, movements, sounds, lights, costumes.

4Since all these features can only be observed on the stage, the various semiotic approaches, which came as a reaction to the literary approach, prevalent up to the Sixties, and are now among the most popular trends in dramatic criticism, see the written text as just one of the multiple systems of signs constituting drama, on a level of reciprocal equality.

  • 7 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid., p. 181.
  • 8 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid., p. 183.

5An interesting and quite balanced position is the one presently held by Short, who, while pointing out that theatre texts "have to be treated in a radically different way from other literary works"7, at the same time, stresses the fact that criticism rigidly restricted to focus on performance, is exposed to the risk of too many variables, represented by the infinite number of different productions of a given play, and consequently, critical discussion would become impossible. The solution he suggests is that there should be an equitable division between the respective fields of interest, namely literary criticism (text-oriented) and theatrical criticism (performance-oriented). However, both types would profit from the recent developments in discourse analysis, that treats the plays as a series of communicative acts, in Short's words : "... hence rescuing dramatic criticism from the variability of performance analysis on the one hand, and from the inadequacy of traditional textual analysis on the other"8.

6In the light of the above controversy, which theatre translators cannot avoid taking into account, what has seemed to me to come out clearly is the necessity of explaining how the meanings implied behind the words spoken on the stage and deeply embedded in the text are produced, before one can proceed to the stage of translation itself. Now, these implied meanings seem to me to constitute a sort of 'hidden text', which can only be discovered by means of a thorough linguistic investigation, backed up and sharpened, whenever possible, by the insights provided by discourse analysis.

7This is why the starting point of my research has been a small-scale experimental analysis of a passage from scene 1, act IV 11. 117-208 of As You Like It. It is an attempt to dissect the functioning of syntax, of rhetorical features and of the use of personal pronouns, in the hope that the exploration of the verbal texture, from the most accessible to progressively deeper levels, may gradually help to discover the 'hidden text'. The stage of translation should be the test of this linguistic exploration, as it should reveal how much of the 'hidden' SL meanings can be transplanted into the TL text, and through which shifts in the original linguistic structures the transplantation can take place.

8In the passage selected for analysis, a mock-marriage is acted out by Orlando, the hero, who obediently complies with the whims of Rosalind, the heroine, disguised as a page-boy under the name of Ganymede. Rosalind's cousin Celia has followed Rosalind in her flight from the Court to the forest of Arden. At Court, Celia's father illegitimately reigns since he has deposed Rosalind's father. In this scene, Celia reluctantly acts as a priest celebrating the mock-ceremony, but most of the time she is actually left out of the dialogue between the two lovers. Her feelings of frustration at the loss of her privileged position in Rosalind's affections are fully expressed in a short final tête-à-tête with Rosalind.

  • 9 J. R. Brown, Shakespeare's Dramatic Style, (London : Heinemann, 1970)

9The same passage has been analysed by John Russell Brown9, using a producer's approach. He relies on intuition to reach the deeper levels of meaning, the underlying world of psychological motivations, beliefs, complexes, in order to load with them the multiple codes of the stage performance. Nothing could be more different from the tortoise-like, painstaking, slow-moving procedure of the linguistic exploration adopted here, and the reason for it is that such an intuitive method cannot be trusted as a reliable instrument in the case of interlingual translation.

  • 10 With reference to the effects created in the audience in this particular scene, c.f. ; M. Bracher, (...)

10What is particularly interesting in the chosen passage is the way in which, through the linguistic investigation, it is possible to detect how the two personalities of Rosalind and Ganymede are alternating in the linguistic surface of the heroine's acting10. According to the role she is playing, she uses a different type of language; the characteristic features of the two languages can be listed as follows (See Text "A" for an analysis of the original text):

GANYMEDE

ROSALIND

— Sharp, high-spirited, ironic use of wit

— Extremely simple linguistic expressions, without witty implications.

— Sophisticated rhetorical schemes (alliteration, repetition, ambiguity, parallelism, hyperbole, in a running series of comparatives and superlatives)

— Direct, absolutely unsophisticated style

Predominance of : Imperatives

(you) Must

(you) Shall

(I) Will

(II) Threats

— Assertive forms or very brief questions or exclamations

Use of "you" to Orlando

Use of 'thou' to Orlando.

11After Orlando's exit, the final part of the scene consists of a short dialogue between Rosalind and Celia, using the following scheme :

ROSALIND

CELIA

— Use of 'thou' to Celia

Use of 'you' to Rosalind

12(In both cases the usual habits of address are reversed).

ROSALIND

CELIA

— Long exclamative sentences, metaphoric language, extravagant and slightly comic similes, intricate rhetorical design

— Short, straightforward sentences, governed by an unflinching use of logic

— Vehement expressions of euphoric excitement

— Very dry and stern expressions of blame

— Final explosion of elaborately hyperbolic language, interspaced with a twice-repeated simple phrase: "I am in love". She seems to claim through linguistic exaggeration some kind of higher truth, seeming to imply through her syntax that only she has this special knowledge and Celia hasn’t and that nothing and no one can ever comprehend it. Yet, she chooses as an image a rather comic geographical comparison: "the bay of Portugal", which effectively debunks her pretence to grandeur.

— Celia has the last word in the scene: a very short, sharp and neat sentence, which is a masterpiece of antiromantic irony. She ironically reflects in her syntax the movement towards practicality, bringing Rosalind back down to earth.

  • 11 Cf. : G.N. Leech, Principles of Pragmatics (Longman, 1983), for the classification of these forms i (...)
  • 12 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid., p. 185, on the present controversy regarding their analysis and categorizati (...)

13More light could be thrown on this linguistic investigation by the use of some concepts, borrowed from discourse analysis: if we examine Ganymede's language in the dialogue with Orlando, we immediately notice that one of the most prominent features is the very frequent use of imperatives, along with other types of impositive forms like: (you) shall, (you) must, as well as a frequent use of threats. The use of these forms11 can be referred to the study of presuppositions, which is being carried out both in the field of linguistics and philosophy12. These forms seem to be based on the pragmatic presupposition (i.e. a presupposition relating to immediate context and immediate social relations), as they presuppose a condition in which the speaker is in a social relation to the hearer, which enables him to give orders, warnings, and even threats.

  • 13 An interesting line of enquiry might be the tracing of differences in Rosalind's speech as a girl o (...)

14Ganymede's clear position of superiority towards Orlando could also be analysed from a sociolinguistic point of view, as resulting from the change of social context (that is, from the stifling, dangerous world of the Court, to the festive atmosphere of the 'green world' of the forest), and even from the change of sex, although it is a fictitious one13.

  • 14 For a lucid literary approach to the study of Rosalind as the chief character, cf. N.Y. Kantak, "An (...)

15Ganymede's attitude of superiority towards Orlando is certainly not based on a difference in hierarchical status, but rather seems to spring from psychological reasons. Throughout the play we see Ganymede undertaking Orlando's education on the subject of love: she intends to eradicate his stereotyped Petrarchan views, and teach him the new dialectics of a democratic relationship between equals, between two real human beings. To do this, she has no other way except to put herself on a superior level, in a sort of tutor/disciple relationship14.

  • 15 Shakespeare's logic, according to J. A. Barish, Ben Jonson and the Language of Prose Comedy, (N.Y.  (...)

16Another important feature in Ganymede's language is the use of a skilfully varied series of rhetorical schemes. It is an artificial artistic construction, partly in imitation of Lyly, and partly originally Shakespearian, in its intelligent use of the mechanical devices of euphuistic prose, and, above all, it is a brilliant example of Shakespeare's use of logic15.

  • 16 A typical example of the plurality of Rosalind's identity is the melodramatic absurd outburst of th (...)

17From a sociolinguistic point of view, the reason why Ganymede uses such a highly elaborate type of language might perhaps be, again, attributed to the position of superiority of the disguised heroine in the context of the play. However, a very important point, which must always be kept in mind, is that this rhetorical language is imbued with an all-pervasive irony, an irony which is not only directed to the other characters, but is also, quite often, self-irony. Ganymede's easy-going spicy language is constantly directed towards debunking conventional romantic love, and conventional romantic love is precisely what keeps emerging from the second type of language, the one which is characteristic of Rosalind's authentic feelings16.

  • 17 Discussions on this linguistic use as a relic of social status and etiquette ('thou' used by superi (...)
  • 18 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid, p. 188 : "...features which, for example, mark social relations between two p (...)

18A third, and perhaps the most characteristic feature of the language in this scene is the You/Thou alternation17. The distribution of the pronouns in the Ganymede/Orlando dialogue, as well as the final exchange of phrases between Rosalind and Celia seem to justify the thesis that a change of pronouns in the same context and between the same people, is a sign of a change of feelings and consequently a change of relations. Ganymede uses consistently the formal 'you' to Orlando, therefore, on the occasions she uses 'thou', this can only be attributed to the emergence of Rosalind's authentic personality and true feelings of love. However, the message this change conveys is only destined to the author/reader-audience channel, as Orlando is completely unaware that he is speaking to his beloved Rosalind18.

19In the final dialogue between Celia and Rosalind, we witness a complete reversal of their normal habits of address, which can be attributed to feelings of frustration due to the loss of a privileged relationship with Rosalind in Celia's case, and to a sort of intoxicating euphoria due to her love at first sight for Orlando, in Rosalind's case.

  • 19 Cf. S. Bassnett-Mc Guire, "Ways through the Labyrinth Strategies and Methods for Translating Theatr (...)

20As mentioned before, the translations stage seems to be the test of how useful the linguistic investigation can be. In the specific case of the passage from As You Like It, a French and an Italian translation have been examined. They have been selected as examples of two different strategies in theatre translation, according to S. Bassnett-McGuire's very useful categorization of five different types19. The strategies illustrated by these two translations could be referred back to the theoretical controversy between the literary and the semiotic approaches in the analysis of theatre texts.

  • 20 Comme il vous plaira, (Paris : Garnier-Flammarion, 1964), pp. 283-286.

21The rather old French translation by F.-V. Hugo20 can be considered an example of the 'literary' (and literal) strategy, typically adopted in translations of the complete works of a given author, commissioned for publication, rather than for stage production. This strategy treats the theatre text as if it were a literary work, and it is characterized by giving a very careful attention to the distinctive features of the written dialogue, by making no allowances for patterns of intonation and other paralinguistic features, and by generally implying the notion of 'fidelity to the original'.

  • 21 Come vi piace, (Milano : Mondadori, 1982), pp. 581-586.

22The Italian translation21, which is the latest one appeared in Italy, is by A. Calenda, the director who staged one of the latest performances of As You Like It in Italy, in 1969. The type of strategy exemplified by this translation is the one called by Bassnett-McGuire, the 'performability strategy', which can be referred to the semiotic approaches in the analysis of drama, as it is based on the performance point of view. This strategy is still not very well defined on a theoretical level, and it is usually called upon by those translators who try to reproduce linguistically the 'performability' of the text. It is characterized by an attempt to create fluent speech-rhythms, carefully adapted to the TL performance, so as not to impose any difficulties on the TL actors. Another feature can be the substitution of SL regional accents with TL regional accents, trying on the whole to create equivalent registers in the TL performance, and omitting all those elements which are too closely bound to the SL cultural context. The language of the Italian translation has a fluent colloquial flavour, it tends to avoid typical Italian prolixity, and tries to reproduce, as far as possible, the elliptical turn of the original Shakespearian lines.

23Both translations show the characteristics of the different strategies they adopt quite clearly. The French one is absolutely literal and extremely accurate, the Italian one has deliberate omissions, changes in the linguistic structures, and reversals of the syntactic order. The global effect, in the case of the French translation, is one of an almost pedantic precision, with sometimes a rather emphatic melodramatic quality of the language (with the use of "oh !", "ah !" rhetorical questions, etc.) whereas the unpretentious 'performable' Italian translation is on the whole more colloquial, simplified and straightforward.

24The choice of comparing an old French translation with a very recent Italian one is certainly not defensible very easily. It must be admitted that the same 'performability' criterion applicable to a 20th century Italian translation may not also be valid for a 19th century French translation. As Hugo also wrote for the theatre, he probably was aware of problems in the performance of texts, and the fact that his translation today may be perceived as 'literary' and 'literal', does not necessarily mean that it was such in his own time. Moreover, the same remark could apply to most of his contemporaries who translated Shakespeare's plays in Italy.

25On the other hand, Calenda's translation, written by a director for his own stage production, seemed to be the farthest possible example from Hugo's type of strategy, and the best possible illustration of how a translation expressly written for the stage takes the 'performability' criterion into account at all times. This is particularly true in Calenda's case, but the fact that the same attitude is beginning to be adopted by more and more translators, even when their work is meant for purely literary purposes, is an interesting development in the field of Italian theatre translation today.

  • 22 Frequency of alternations Ganymede/Rosalind, based on the following linguistic features :
    —  Imposi
    (...)

26The different use of Rosalind's language, according to whether she is speaking as Ganymede or Rosalind, and whether she is speaking to Orlando or to Celia in the scene selected for examination, has been analysed in the English text from the Arden Shakespeare, ed. A. Latham, 1975, (Text "A"), where some characteristic linguistic features have been identified22. The comparison between the French translation by F.-V. Hugo for Garnier-Flammarion, 1964 (Text "B"), and the translation by A. Calenda for Mondadori 1982 (Text "C") is shown in the tables on pp. 98 ff.

***

Abbreviations used in the analysis of text "a".

  • G = GANYMEDE

  • R = ROSALIND

Impositive forms and threats

  • I = IMPERATIVE

  • S = (YOU) SHALL

  • M = (YOU) MUST

  • TH = THREATS

Rhetorical features

  • A = AMBIGUITY

  • ALL = ALLITERATION

  • M = METAPHOR

  • PAR = PARALLELISM

  • REP = REPETITION

  • H = HYPERBOLE (through series of accumulated comparatives or superlatives).

  • S = SIMILE

Alternations of t/v pronouns.

  • T = THOU

  • V = YOU

As you like it

ROS. Come sister, you shall be the priest and marry us.
Give me your hand Orlando. What do you say sister ?
ORL. Pray thee marry us.
CELIA I cannot say the words.
ROS. You must begin, 'Will you Orlando-'
CELIA Go to. Will you Orlando have to wife this Rosalind ?
ORL. I will.
ROS. Ay, but when ?
ORL. Why now, as fast as she can marry us.
ROS. Then you must say 'I take thee Rosalind for wife.'
ORL. I take thee Rosalind for wife.
ROS. I might ask you for your commission ; but I do take thee Orlando for my husband. There's a girl goes before the priest, and certainly a woman's thought runs before her actions.
ORL. So do all thoughts, they are winged.
ROS. Now tell me how long you would have her, after
you have possessed her ?
ORL. For ever, and a day.
ROS. Say a day, without the ever. No, no, Orlando, men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives. I will be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon.

G

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1/3

6

12

14/17

19/20

22/26

R

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10

14/15

25/26

I

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1

2

3

6

12

14

19

20

S

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1

2

M

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б

12

TH

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25/26

A

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14

17

25/26

ALL

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23/24

25

M

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1

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17

23

24

25

FAR

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15/17

23

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25

REF

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22

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26

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26

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15

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1/3

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20

over his hen, more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more new-fangled than an ape, more giddy in my desires than a monkey. I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain, and I will do that when you are disposed to be merry. I will laugh like a hyen, and that when thou art inclined to sleep.
ORL. But will my Rosalind do so ?
ROS. By my life, she will do as I do.
ORL. O but she is wise.
ROS. Or else she could not have the wit to do this. The wiser, the waywarder. Make the doors upon a woman's wit, and it will out at the casement ; shut that, and 'twill out at the keyhole ; stop that, 'twill fly with the smoke out at the chimney.
ORL. A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say, 'Wit, whither wilt ?'
ROS. Nay, you might keep that check for it, till you met your wife's wit going to your neighbour's bed.
ORL. And what wit could wit have to excuse that ?
ROS. Marry to say she came to seek you there. You shall never take her without her answer, unless you take her without her tongue. O that woman that cannot make her fault her husband's occasion, let her never nurse her child herself, for she will breed it like a fool.
ORL. For these two hours Rosalind, I will leave thee.
ROS. Alas, dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours.
ORL. I must attend the Duke at dinner. By two o'clock I will be with thee again.
ROS. Ay, go your ways, go your ways. I knew what you would prove. My friends told me as much and I

G

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27/31

35/40

43/44

46/51/56/57

R

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32

34

53

I

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37

38

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49

S

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47

M

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TH

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27

28

29

30

31

32

A

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27/32

34

36

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56/57

ALL

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36/38

44

M

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37/40

43/44

49

FAR

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27

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30

31

37/40

46/48

REP

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56

H

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27/29

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27/29

51

T

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32

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43

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46

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thought no less. That flattering tongue of yours won me. 'Tis but one cast away, and so, come death !. Two o'clock is your hour ?
ORL. Ay, sweet Rosalind.
ROS. By my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend me, and by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous, if you break one jot of your promise, or come one minute behind your hour, I will think you the most pathetical break-promise, and the most hollow lover, and the most unworthy of her you call Rosalind, that may be chosen out of the gross band of the unfaithful : therefore beware my censure and keep your promise.
ORL. With no less religion than if thou wert indeed my Rosalind. So adieu.
ROS. Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such offenders, and let Time try. Adieu.
Exit [Orlando]
CELIA
You have simply misused our sex in your love-prate. We must have your doublet and hose plucked over your head, and show the world what the bird hath done to her own nest.
ROS. O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou didst know how many fathom deep I am in love ! But it cannot be sounded. My affection hath an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal.

G

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58/60

62/70

73/74

R

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79/82

L

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59

67/70

74

s

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M

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TH

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62/70

74

A

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58/59

73/74

ALL

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M

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59

64

66/68

77/78

80/82

PAR

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62/70

REP

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62/63

79

H

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65/67

S

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71

82

T

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79

V

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58

64/65

67

70

75/77

CELIA. Or rather bottomless, that as fast as you pour affection in, it runs out.
ROS. No. That same wicked bastard of Venus, that was
begot of thought, conceived of spleen and born of madness, that blind rascally boy that abuses everyone's eyes because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I am in love. I'll tell thee Aliena, I cannot be out of the sight of Orlando. I'll go find a shadow and sigh till he come.
CELIA And I'll sleep.
[Exeunt]

Text "b"

ROSALINDE. — Allons, soeur, servez-nous de prêtre et mariez-nous... Donnez-moi votre main. Orlando. (Orlando et Rosalinde se prennent la main). Que dites-vous, ma soeur ?
ORLANDO, à Célia. — De grâce, mariez-nous.
CELIA. — Je ne sais pas les paroles à dire.
ROSALINDE. — Il faut que vous commenciez ainsi :
Consentez-vous Orlando...
CELIA.
— J'y suis... Consentez-vous, Orlando, à prendre pour femme cette Rosalinde ?
ORLANDO. — J'y consens.
ROSALINDE. — Oui, mais quand ?
ORLANDO. — Tout de suite, aussi vite qu'elle peut nous marier.
ROSALNDE, à Orlando. — Sur ce, vous devez dire : Je te prends pour femme, Rosalinde.
ORDLANDO.
— Je te prends pour femme, Rosalinde.
ROSALINDE, à Célia. — Je pourrais vous demander vos pouvoirs ; mais n'importe. Orlando, je te prends pour mari... Voilà la fiancée qui devance le prêtre ; il est certain que la pensée d'une femme court toujours en avant de ses actes.
ORLANDO. — Il en est ainsi de toutes les pensées : elles ont des ailes.
ROSALNDE. — Dites-moi maintenant ! Combien de temps voudrez-vous d'elle, quand vous l'aurez possédée ?
ORLANDO. — L'éternité, et un jour.
ROSALINDE. — Dites un jour, sans l'éternité. Non, non Orlando. les hommes sont Avril quand ils font leur cour, et Décembre quand ils épousent. Les filles sont Mai tant qu'elles sont filles, mais le temps change dès qu'elles sont femmes. Je prétends être plus jalouse de toi qu'un ramier de Barbarie de sa colombe, plus criarde qu'un perroquet sous la pluie, plus extravagante qu'un singe, plus éperdue dans mes désirs qu'un babouin. Je prétends pleurer pour rien comme Diane à la fontaine, et ça quand vous serez en humeur de gaieté ; je prétends rire comme une hyène, et ça quand tu seras disposé à dormir.
ORLANDO. — Mais ma Rosalinde fera-t-elle tout cela ?
ROSALINDE. — Sur ma vie, elle fera comme je ferai.
ORLANDO. — Oh : mais elle est sage !
ROSALINDE. — Oui, autrement elle n'aurait pas la sagesse de faire tout cela. Plus elle sera sage, plus elle sera maligne. Fermez les portes sur l'esprit de la femme, et il s'échappera par la fenêtre ; fermez la fenêtre, et il s'échappera par le trou de la serrure ; bouchez la serrure, et il s'envolera avec la fumée par la cheminée.
ORLANDO. — Un homme qui aurait une femme douée d'autant d'esprit pourrait bien s'écrier : Esprit, où t'égares-tu ?
ROSALINDE.
 — Oh ! vous pouvez garder cette exclamation pour le cas où vous verriez l'esprit de votre femme monter au lit de" votre voisin.
ORLANDO. — Et quelle spirituelle excuse son esprit trouverait-il à cela ?
ROSALINDE. — Parbleu ! il lui suffirait de dire qu'elle allait vous y chercher. Vous ne la trouverez jamais sans réplique, à moins que vous ne la trouviez sans langue. Pour la femme qui ne saurait pas rejeter sa faute sur le compte de son mari, oh! qu'elle ne nourrisse pas elle-même son enfant, car elle en ferait un imbécile !
ORLANDO. — Je vais te quitter pour deux heures, Rosalinde.
ROSALINDE. — Hélas ! cher amour, je ne saurais me passer de toi deux heures.
ORLANDO. — Je dois me trouver au dîner du duc ; vers deux heures je reviendrai près de toi.
ROSALINDE. — Oui, allez, allez votre chemin. . . Je savais comment vous tourneriez. . . Mes amis me l'avaient prédit, et je m'y attendais. . . C'est votre langue flatteuse qui m'a séduite. . . Encore une pauvre abandonnée !.. . . Vienne la mort !.. . . A deux heures, n'est-ce-pas ?
ORLANDO. — Oui, charmante Rosalinde.
ROSALNDE. — Sérieusement, sur ma parole, sur mon espoir en Dieu, et par tous les jolis serments qui ne sont pas dangereux, si vous manquez d'un iota à votre promesse, si vous venez une minute après l'heure, je vous tiens pour le plus pathétique parjure, pour l'amant le plus fourbe et le plus indigne de celle que vous appelez Rosalinde, qu'il soit possible de trouver dans l'énorme bande des infidèles. Ainsi redoutez ma censure, et tenez votre promesse.
ORLANDO. — Aussi religieusement que si tu étais vraiment ma Rosalinde. Sur ce, adieu !
ROSALINDE. — Oui, le temps est le vieux justicier qui examine tous ces délits-là : laissons le temps juger. Adieu : (Orlando sort).
CELIA.
 — Vous avez rudement maltraité notre sexe dans votre bavardage amoureux : vous mériteriez qu'on relevât votre pourpoint et votre haut-de-chausses par-dessus votre tête, et qu'on fît voir au monde le tort que l'oiseau a fait à son propre nid.
ROSALINDE. — O cousine, cousine, cousine, ma jolie petite cousine, si tu savais à quelle profondeur je suis enfoncée dans l'amour ! Mais elle ne saurait être sondée : mon affection a un fond inconnu, comme la baie de Portugal.
CELIA. — Ou plutôt, elle n'a pas de fond : aussitôt que vous l'épanchez, elle fuit.
ROSALINDE. — Ah !Ce méchant bâtard de Vénus, engendré de la rêverie, conçu du spleen et né de la folie ! cet aveugle petit garnement qui abuse les yeux de chacun parce qu'il a perdu les siens ! qu'il soit juge, lui, de la profondeur de mon amour !.. . . Te le dirai-je, Aliéna ? Je ne puis vivre loin de la vue d'Orlando. Je vais chercher un ombrage et soupirer jusqu'à ce qu'il vienne.
CELIA. — Et moi je vais dormir.
(Elles sortent).

Texte "c"

Vieni, sorella, tu sarai il prete che ci sposa. — Damni la mano, Orlando. — Che cosa dici, sorella ?
ORLANDO Sposaci, te ne prego.
CELIA Non so la formula.
ROSALINDA Devi cominciare con "Vuo tu, Orlando".
CELIA Ah, già ! Vuoi tu, Orlando, prendere per moglie la qui presente Rosalinda ?
ORLANDO Lo voglio.
ROSALNDA Si,ma quando ?
ORLANDO Adesso, più presto che lei può.
ROSALINDA Allora devi dire "lo ti prendo in moglie, Rosalinda".
ORLANDO lo ti prendo in moglie, Rosalinda.
ROSALINDA Potrei chiedere qualche garanzia, comunque io ti prendo come marito, Orlando. Una ragazza è più svelta del prete : il pensiero di una donna è più veloce dell'azione.
ORLANDO Tutti i pensieri sono alati.
ROSALINDA Ora dimmi, per quanto tempo te la vorresti tenere dopo averla posseduta ?
ORLANDO Per sempre, più un giorno ancora.
ROSALINDA Di' "un giorno" senza il "per sempre". No, no, Orlando, gli uomini sono come l'aprile quando s'innamorano, come dicembre quando si sposano ; le ragazze sono come maggio da fanciulle, ma, da mogli, per loro il cielo cambia. Di te io saro più gelosa che un piccione di Barberia della sua femmina, più chiassosa di un pappagallo quando piove, più vanesia di una scimmia, nei miei desideri più estrosa di una bertuccia ; piangero per un niente, come Diana in mezzo alla sua fontana, e lo farò proprio quando tu sarai disposto all'allegria ; e riderò come una iena quando tu avrai voglia di dormire.
ORLANDO Farà cosi la mia Rosalinda ?
ROSALINDA Per la mia vita, farà esattamente come faccio io.
ORLANDO Ma no, lei è saggia.
ROSALINDA Se no non avrebbe l'intelligenza di farlo. Più è intelligente, una donna, e più è ostinata. Chiudi la porta in faccia al suo spirito, e quello uscirà dalla finestra. Spranga la finestra e quello filerà per il buco della serratura. Tappa il buco, e quello se ne andrà col fumo per la cappa del camino.
ORLANDO Allora, un uomo con una moglie simile, potrebbe dire : "spirito, batti un colpo".
ROSALINDA Aspetta a chiedergli di battere, fino a quando non incontrerai lo spirito di tua mogli che va a infilarsi nel letto del tuo vicino.
ORLANDO Con quale spirito il suo spirito potrebbe scusarsi ?
ROSALINDA Vergine santa, dicendo che è andata là per cercarvi. Non la sorprenderete mai senza risposta, a meno che no sposiate una donna senza lingua. Oh, la donna che non sa ritorcere la propria colpa contro il marito, non allatti mai il suo bambino : ne verrebbe fuori un cretino.
ORLANDO Rosalinda, devo lasciarti per due ore.
ROSALINDA Non posso rinunciare a te per due ore, amore caro !
ORLANDO
Devo andare a pranzo dal duca. Alle due saro di ritorno.
ROSALINDA SÌ, andatevene pure, andate : sapervo del vostro comportamento, le mie amiche me l'avevano detto, e io me l'aspettavo. La seduzione della vostra lingua m'ha conquistato ; ma quando ci si sente messa da parte, vieni, morte. Le due, avete detto ?
ORLANDO Sì, dolce Rosalinda.
ROSALNDA In verità, in tutta sincerità, con l'aiuto di Dio e secondo tutti gli altri possibili noti giuramenti, se voi mancherete anche d'un soffio alla vostra promessa, o arriverete un minuto più tardi dell'ora fissata, vi considerero il più meschino spergiuro, l'innamorato più vacuo, l'individuo più indegno di colei che chiamate Rosalinda. Guardatevi quindi dal mio biasimo e mantenete la promessa.
ORLANDO Lo farò come se tu fossi la mia vera Rosalinda, religiosamente. Addio.
ROSALINDA Bene, il tempo è il vecchio giudice istruttore di tutti gli imputati di questo genere, spetta al tempo istruire il processo. Addio. Esce [Orlando]
CELIA
Con questo tuo sofisticare sull'amore hai messo in pessima luce il nostro sesso : bisognerebbe che ti tirassero su sopra la testa giacca e calzoni, per far vedere al mondo che scempio ha fatto l'uccello del proprio nido.
ROSALINDA Cugina mia, cugina, piccola deliziosa cugina, se tu potessi vedere di quante braccia sono sprofondata nell'amore ! Ma tu non puoi sondarlo : la mia passione è un fondo imperscrutabile, come la baia del Portogallo.
CELIA Direi piuttosto che è senza fondo, più ci versi dentro la passione, più quella esce dall'altra parte.
ROSALINDA No, a giudicare la profondità del mio amore ci vuole quel bastardaccio figlio di Venere, generato dal cervello, concepito dall'ipocondria e nato dalla follia, quel ragazzaccio cieco che inganna la vista di tutti perché lui non puo vedere niente. Ti confesso, Aliena, che quando non vedo Orlando non vivo più ; vado a cercare un po' d'ombra dove restare a sospirare finché non tornerà.
CELIA E io vado a dormire. Escono

Comparison of translation
into french and italian

Impositive forms

English text "a"

2716 Imperatives and impositive forms

2811. 1-2

29Come sister, you shall be the priest and marry us.

3011. 85-89

31No. That same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot of thought, conceived of spleen and born of madness, that blind rascally boy that abuses everyone's eyes, because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I am in love.

FRENCH TRANSLATION "B"

ITALIAN TRANSLATION "C"

All the imperatives and impositive forms are retained

3 omissions of imperatives and impositive forms

11. 1-2.

(..., tu sarai il prete che ci sposa.)

The omission of the two impositive forms results in a less compulsive tone, but, at the same time, it seems to stress Rosalind's lively impulsiveness.

11. 94-98

(No, a giudicare la profondità del mio amore, ci vuole quel bast ardaccio figlio di Venere, generato dal cervello concepito dall'ipocondria e nato dalla follia, quel ragazzaccio cieco che inganna la vista di tutti perché lui non può vedere niente.)

Less magniloquent than the English original and the French translation : the colloquial tone is accentuated by the use of the Italian pejorative forms 'ragazzaccio', 'bastardaccio', as well as by the reversal of the syntactic order.

Threats

English text "a"

32These forms are concentrated in two passages :

3311. 25-32

(I will be more jealous... sleep).

3411. 62-70

(By my froth and in good earnest ... promise)

FRENCH TRANSLATION "B"

ITALIAN TRANSLATION "C"

11. 32-39

11. 27-34

(Je prétends être plus jalouse que… dormir.)

(Di te io saro più gelosa che...dormire)

The addition of 'je prétends', seems to me to have a rather dubitative inflection, whereas the original text is characteristically straightforward and self-confident, so that the threatening attitude does not come out strongly enough.

Deliberate reversal of the syntactic order, which seems to add immediacy and directness to the threat.

11. 79-87

11. 69-76

(Sérieusement, sur ma parole... promesse.)

(In verità, in tutta sincerità… promessa)

Quite literal with regard to the choice of lexical terms and syntactic structures, but the general threatening tone does not seem to be preserved entirely

Omission of the expression 'the gross band of the unfaithful'. In accordance with the criterion adopted by the 'peformability' strategy, those elements which cannot be easily inserted into the TL context are frequently omitted.

Rhetorical features

Metaphor

English text "a"

3511. 23-24

(...men are April ... are maids,)

3611. 73-74

(Well, Time is the old justice............try.)

3711. 79-80

38(...that thou didst know how many fathom deep I am in love !)

FRENCH TRANSLATION "B"

ITALIAN TRANSLATION "C"

11. 29-32

(...les hommes sont Avril .....femmes.)

(gli uomini sono come l' Aprile... fanciulle,)

The same image is exactly reproduced in metaphoric form.

The image is retained but the metaphor is translated as a simile.

11. 90-91

Oui, le temps est le vieux justicier qui examine tous ces délits-là...juger.) examine tous ces délits-là...juger.)

(Bene, il tempo é il vecchio giudice istruttore di tutti gli imputati di questo genere... processo.)

The metaphor is retained both in image and form, but the crimes committed are mentioned instead of the criminals.

The metaphor is retained both in image in form

11. 99-100

11. 88-89

(...si tu savais à quelle profondeur je suis enfoncée ....amour !)

(...se tu potessi vedere di quante braccia sono sprofondata nell'amore !)

While the images of fathomless depth are retained, the specificity of the marine metaphor is not preserved.

The image is retained and the specifically marine term 'braccia' is used for 'fathom'. The verb 'vedere' 'to see' is used instead of 'to know', and seems to stress the physical element to the expense of the intellectual one.

Alliteration

39This feature is not retained in either translation, for obvious reasons.

Other rhetorical features

40(parallelism, repetition, hyperbole, simile)

41They are quite regularly reproduced in both translations.

***

Personal pronouns

42T = Thou

43V = You)

English text "a"

44V is consistently used by Ganymede to Orlando ; it is suddenly changed into T in some crucial moments, when Rosalind's true self comes out irresistibly :

4511. 14-15

(I might ask you for your commission; but I do take thee, Orlando for my husband).

4611. 25-26

(I will be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon.)

4711. 30-32

(...and I will do that when you are disposed to be merry, I will laugh like a hyen, and that when thou are inclined to sleep).

4811. 46-48

(Marry, to say she came to seek you there. You shall never take her without her answer, unless you take her without her tongue).

FRENCH TRANSLATION "B"

ITALIAN TRANSLATION "C"

The T/V alternation is retained throughout the whole dialogue :

T is consistently used by Ganymede to Orlando in the first part of the dialogue, so that the effect of the alternation is completely lost.

1. 17-18

(Je pourrais vous demander vos pouvoirs, mais n'importe. Orlando, je te prends pour mari...)

11. 32-33

(Je prétends être plus jalouse de toi qu'un ramier de Barbarie de sa colombe...)

11. 37-39

(...et ça quand vous serez en humeur de gaîté ; je prétends rire comme une hyène et ça quand tu sera disposé à dormir.)

11. 52-55

(Vergina santa, dicendo che é andata là per cercarvi. Non la sorprenderete mai senza irsposta, a mano che non sposiate una donna senza lingua).

The V form is now, rather incoherently used for the first time.

English text "a"

49The most symptomatic change of pronouns is in 1. 53:

(Alas, dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours).

50In the final dialogue between Rosalind and Celia their usual habits of address (V for Rosalind and T for Celia) are reversed.

FRENCH TRANSLATION "B"

ITALIAN TRANSLATION "C"

11. 68-69

1. 59-60

(Hélas, mon cher amour, je ne saurais me passer de toi deux heures).

(Non posso rinunciare a te per due ore, amore caro !)

Absolutely literal translation.

There is again a reversal of the syntactic order, while the initial dilatory exclamation is omitted and is replaced by an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence (which seems to accentuate Rosalind's typical impulsiveness). A T form is used in this half-comical half-serious exclamation, then the V form is resumed.

The reversal is scrupulously retained.

The T form is used all the way through the two cousins' dialogue, thus ignoring the reversal completely

Conclusion

51On the whole, the linguistic investigation has seemed to function as a useful instrument for a detailed analysis of the text, also allowing through purely linguistic means to reach a deeper level of meaning. It has also provided some objective points of reference in evaluating the two translations : the steadily kept literal approach of the French translation has been clearly stressed, but the "literalness" cannot be considered a synonym of "fidelity". For example in the case of the T/V alternation, which has been exactly retained throughout the passage, the result is a mysterious change of pronouns, which has no apparent justification. The Italian translation with its omissions and imprecisions (characteristically due to the 'performability' strategy, aiming at the fluency of a perfectly understandable language) seems to leave a larger space for the untranslatable elements to be converted into paralinguistic signs.

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Notes

1 Cf. G. Melchiori, "Translating Shakespeare : an Italian View", Shakespeare Translation, 5 (Tokyo : Yushodo Shoten Ltd, 1978).

2 Cf. G. Melchiori Ibid.

3 Cf. studies by critics such as Wilson Knight, Traversi, Knights. Danby and others, who, in the Fifties, searched for the 'leit-motiv' the famous 'pattern in the carpet', and tended to extract it arbitrarily from the play, as if it were something mechanically prepackaged. In 1957, however, future developments were anticipated by John Russell Brown, who maintained that the meaning of a play is implicit in the whole dramatic action, seen as a living organism.

4 Cf. J.D. Styan, The Elements of Drama, (Cambridge U.P., 1960).

5 Cf. M.H. Short, "Discourse Analysis and the Analysis of Drama", in Applied Linguistics, II, 2 (1981), p. 201, n. 2.

6 The communicative character of speech in drama, which is expressed in the multiple coding of the stage performance, is made more complex by the fact that an additional level of discourse is embedded in it : c.f. on this subject M.H. Short, Ibid. p. 188 : "Character speaks to character, and this discourse is part of what the playwright 'tells' the audience."

7 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid., p. 181.

8 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid., p. 183.

9 J. R. Brown, Shakespeare's Dramatic Style, (London : Heinemann, 1970)

10 With reference to the effects created in the audience in this particular scene, c.f. ; M. Bracher, 'Contrary Notions of Identity in As You Like It", Studies in English Literature — 1500-1900, 24, (Spring 1984), Rice University Press, Houston, Texas, "The multiple perspectives constellated by this encounter, force us to see every word uttered by the characters in several ways at once, and, as a result, we are unable to rest for long in the inertia of a single attitude or emotion. The experience of greater inclusiveness, which disguise inaugurates in the audience is mirrored and reinforced by the greater inclusiveness which the characters themselves achieve through disguise." p. 236.

11 Cf. : G.N. Leech, Principles of Pragmatics (Longman, 1983), for the classification of these forms in the following diagram of the basic sentence-types in English, from the point of view of three different levels :
SYNTACTIC Declarative Interrogative Imperative
SEMANTIC Proposition Question Mand
PRAGMATIC 'Assertion' 'Asking' Impositive

12 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid., p. 185, on the present controversy regarding their analysis and categorization.

13 An interesting line of enquiry might be the tracing of differences in Rosalind's speech as a girl of noble birth at Court, and as a page in the joyous, carefree pastoral world of the forest. For recent studies on sexual differences in speech, c.f. the bibliographical references in G.N. Leech, Ibid.

14 For a lucid literary approach to the study of Rosalind as the chief character, cf. N.Y. Kantak, "An Approach to Shakespearian Comedy", Shakespeare Survey 22, (1969) : "The playing ... is firmly centred on Rosalind, who is chief actor, director-producer, and audience all in one. It is as though she were to possess a double as ritual prototype and naturalistic character, presenting a kind of fusion of the ceremonial and the historical in an easy combination. With one part of her mind she gives away to the saturnalian release and holds it in check with the other... It is a difficult balance she maintains, all the time seeing herself playing a role without losing any of the impetuous drive of youthful impulse. Part of the fun is that she can observe herself in the grip of impulse and laugh at her own ridiculousness, as though she were upon a stage."

15 Shakespeare's logic, according to J. A. Barish, Ben Jonson and the Language of Prose Comedy, (N.Y. : Norton & Co., 1970, p. 23, is "managed with such a virtuosity as to seem as natural as breathing", and it consists of : "...treating a piece of discourse as argument, tracking effects back to causes, discovering consequences from antecedents, elucidating premises, proposing hypotheses, and the like ; and second, more important, the habit of proceeding disjunctively, of splitting every idea into its component elements, so as to sharpen the sense of division between them."

16 A typical example of the plurality of Rosalind's identity is the melodramatic absurd outburst of the true Rosalind, when she says : I. 53 : "Alas, dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours." It is the first time she uses such a tender expression, but, under an evidently superficial level of joke between her and Orlando, and a deeper level of joke between her and Celia, her true-felt tenderness is the deepest and most secret level of meaning.

17 Discussions on this linguistic use as a relic of social status and etiquette ('thou' used by superior to subordinate, or between equals ; 'you' used by subordinate to superior or between equals of high standing) can be found in :
— R. Brown and A. Gilman, "The pronouns of Power and Solidarity", in
Style in Language, T. A. Sebeck (ed.), (MIT Press, 1960). This is a fundamental study, based on the close association of the two pronouns with the dimensions of power and solidarity in social life. The first three sections deal with the semantics of the pronouns and their semantic evolution in various European languages, the final two sections with expressive style and variations in use, as expressions of "transient moods and attitudes".
— A. Mcintosh, "As You Like It : a Grammatical Clue to Character",
Rev, of Eng. Lit. 4, (1963). It is the most thorough study of the use of the pronouns in AYL. Based on Brown and Gilman categories, it is a demonstration of how the emotional overtones of the shifts in the use of the pronouns convey the deep meaning of the relationship between Celia and Rosalind. There is a complete bibliography on the subject, up to 1963.
— J. Mulholland, "Thou and You in Shakespeare",
English Studies 48, (1967). This is a grammatical study of the occurrences of the pronouns in Much Ado and King Lear, according to differences in class and sex. It is concerned with "the more permanent connections between people", and challenges Mcintosh's study of emotional shifts in pronominal use, as theoretically not well-founded.
— A.C. Partridge,
Tudor to Augustan English, A Study in Syntax and Style from Caxton to Johnson, (A. Deutsch, 1969), p. 24. A short account of the diachronic evolution in the use of the pronouns, it adopts the view that : "changes from 'you' to 'thou' in the same sentence were usually indicative of rising emotion and might, thus, in plays, have been a sign to the actor."
— R. Quirk,
The Linguist and the English Language, (Edward Arnold, 1974), pp. 10 and ff. It introduces the notion of active contrast' between the 'unmarked' 'you' (in the sense that it is not so much 'formal' as 'not informal') and the unmarked 'thou' (in its emotional use of anger, which is different from the 'thou' of intimacy between equals and relatives).
— J. Lyons, "Pronouns of Address and Solidarity in Anna Karenina : The Stylistics of Bilingualism and the Impossibility of Translation", in :
Studies in English Linguistics, Greenbaum, G. Leech, Svartivick (eds), (Longman, 1980). Lyons's point is that when a given language allows scope for one's particular preferences in the use of pronouns, as well as for the expression of one's change of mood or emotion, then, according to the first law of structural semantics the choice between the pronouns becomes meaningful in that particular language (in this particular case in Russian, but not in French). As regards translation, Lyons is convinced that it is impossible, thus implying that some of the flavour and atmosphere of the original is irremediably lost.
According to his structuralist viewpoint, he emphasizes "the semantic load that can be borne by a simple grammatical distinction." (P. 248), and stresses that : 'There may be semantic distinctions drawn by a language system that either cannot be translated at all, or can be only roughly and inadequately translated in terms of some other language system." (P. 249). Lyons's particular emphasis in reaffirming the impossibility of translation in certain cases is due to the fact that this point of view, which was widely accepted in the heyday of structuralism is no more fashionable today, when linguists tend to be more interested in the similarities rather than in the differences among language systems.

18 Cf. M.H. Short, Ibid, p. 188 : "...features which, for example, mark social relations between two people at the character level become messages about the characters at the level of discourse which pertains between author and reader/audience."

19 Cf. S. Bassnett-Mc Guire, "Ways through the Labyrinth Strategies and Methods for Translating Theatre Texts", The Manipulation of Literature, ed. T. Hermans. (Beckenham : Croom Helm, 1985).

20 Comme il vous plaira, (Paris : Garnier-Flammarion, 1964), pp. 283-286.

21 Come vi piace, (Milano : Mondadori, 1982), pp. 581-586.

22 Frequency of alternations Ganymede/Rosalind, based on the following linguistic features :
—  Impositive Forms and Threats
—  Rhetorical Features
—  Alternations of T/V Pronouns

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Gaby Petrone Fresco, « The Hidden Text: Problems of translation in As You Like It », Palimpsestes, 1 | 1987, 73-114.

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Gaby Petrone Fresco, « The Hidden Text: Problems of translation in As You Like It », Palimpsestes [En ligne], 1 | 1987, mis en ligne le 09 juin 2015, consulté le 22 février 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/palimpsestes/172 ; DOI : 10.4000/palimpsestes.172

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