Thursday, May 15, 2008

To translate or not to translate...

Thinking back over the year, one of the early debates in AP English Lit was "Do we buy the students copies of Othello or No Fear Shakespeare: Othello?" The former is what most high school students, or anyone for that matter, reads. The latter is the whole play with a modern translation side-by-side with the original. Realistically, the students would just read the translation, if anything at all. But, if by having a more accessible version of the story, would more students actually make the effort to read the whole play? And in the end, are we trying to teach them to read Elizabethan English, or to understand the themes and concepts of the play? In the end we went with the original, though now that the year is closing, and I see how much the students remember of the play, it makes me wonder if we made the right decision.

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