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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not 'about' anything and better for it!
From the outset, this might seem like a play chiefly mourning the decline of Irish culture due to the English. If it was as simple and, frankly, boring as this then I wouldn't like it, let alone rate it 5 stars. For me though, this play isn't really 'about' this or anything else. Friel is notorious for refusing to tell people what the 'point' of his plays are and that is...
Published on 21 Jan. 2008 by Andrew

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good for the price I bought it at
It's good for the price I bought it at, however it was ripped and scribbled in... I also found a leaf pressed in it...! Useful to have as a literature student.
Published 4 months ago by Maisie Read


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not 'about' anything and better for it!, 21 Jan. 2008
By 
This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
From the outset, this might seem like a play chiefly mourning the decline of Irish culture due to the English. If it was as simple and, frankly, boring as this then I wouldn't like it, let alone rate it 5 stars. For me though, this play isn't really 'about' this or anything else. Friel is notorious for refusing to tell people what the 'point' of his plays are and that is probably because with Translations he is not attempting to 'make a point' or argue one view, but to explore various issues without trying to give a definite 'answer'.

The way I see it the purpose of Translations is to present to the mind of the audience members ideas or views which they then can digest and reflect on. This includes issues in the philosophy of language, identity, morality and politics. People have got to realize that Friel is not saying "what the English did was wrong" or "a culture's original language is part of its identity" or "meaning can never be properly translated from one language to another" but to put these and their opposing views out there and create a point of reference for discussion. This ambiguous 'post-modernist' approach ensures the play is not a one-trick pony, it makes it re-readable and perfect for study.

Mistaking views being raised for reflection as Friel expressing personal views leads to a simplistic appreciation of this play which would understandably lead to a poor review. For those reviewers who feel there's not enough action I say this play is not a play of action. And for those reviewers who say the characters are stereotypes I say they obviously skipped the parts with Yolland in them (as well as the fact that in drama arhetypal characters can be used to great effect).

This is, quite simply, a great play.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Translations review by Leenie, 16 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Translations now firmly holds a place on A-level and University reading lists everywhere and rightly so. It's a beautiful play which focuses on the potential erosion of Irish Culture along with the eradication of the Gaelic Language and Irish place names, by British troops. However, you don't need to be clued-up on Irish politics to enjoy translations. The moving union between an Irish Speaking Country Girl and a British Solider proves that love only knows one language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite play of all time, 8 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
I remember picking this play up, and wondering if it would be able to capture my interest, because I am a reluctant reader. There is, however, something about this work that makes you want to keep reading. All the characters are interesting, especially Hugh Mor O'Donnell, and you find yourself loving some and hating others.

I used to think that when you hated a character it was because they were not a good creation, but it is quite the opposite really. And Maire Chatach in Translations, has the same effect on me as Mr Skimpole in Bleak House, she evokes instant dislike. Her selfishness and the attachment she develops to the foreigner George Yolland are central to the Story, and help bring about the climax to the play. She abandons Manus, the crippled Irish teacher, for the stronger English soldier and there is perhaps an allusion here to the shedding of the Irish language in favour of English, by the Irish peasantry.

I read 'Making History' after reading this one and didn't like it half as much. The banter in the hedge school particulary that between Hugh and Doalty is extremely funny and provides an anti-dote to the depressing central theme of the play - Colonisation and the wilful destruction of the Irish Language and Culture.

If you read this and the first chapter of Ulysses together, you can see the effect of what takes place in Translations. In Friel's play, set notionally in 1815, the main language of Bally Beag was Gaelic, and it was the only language the Hedge School pupils other than Jimmy Jack Cassie, really understood. By 16th June 1904, the peasantry, represented by the milk woman, are unable to even recognise their own language.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer delight!, 27 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Friel's "Translations" is a brilliant book which I had the fortune to study on my A Level syllabus. It works on many levels, and whilst its layers of symbolism can seem complex to begin with, by the end of the play Friel skilfully connects the loose ends together. This is a beautiful story of language and love, as well as the power of language to deceive. I would recommend this to any fan of Anglo-Irish Literature but also as a very good read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What about an audio-book for it?, 21 Dec. 2004
By 
Bernard Marcelé (La Jarne, Charente Maritime France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Brian Friel's play "Translations"is most certainly a great read but why isn't there a published recording of it? All students of English, native or foreign, who are interested in languages must read it. However, I'm stunned that in this day and age when most published works have their audio versions, this play of all books, apparently hasn't one accompanying it. I understand that in this play the voices and accents with their intermingling of Latin, Greek, English and Gaelic play an important role. As a French national, I would certainly appreciate listening to it, simply because of all the Gaelic place names whose pronounciation must be known for the play to be enjoyed thoroughly; it'd certainly make sense.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Liked but was left uncertain, 29 Mar. 2010
By 
Z. Eglite (Riga, Latvia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Moving, funny and multi-layered.

Amazing technique of creating an impression of two languages being spoken with the words of one language only. Amazing skill in conjuring up the dialogue of lovers, loaded with emotion, searching for common language where there is none. Or is there?... That place in the play I liked the best.

One star minus to myself for not understanding the ending: ok, Owen repents, but does it solve it all? What about Maire, the most resolute of all, which way she is about to go? Yolland, the sweetest of all - why does Friel kill him? Manus, the most honest, why must he escape? The prophesy in the end of the play by a drunk funny man living in the world of his dreams - is that the final truth???
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4.0 out of 5 stars Translations, Brian Friel, 2 Mar. 2009
By 
E. R. LOCK "Esther" (Oxon, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
A short, insightful, easy-to-read play. Friel skillfully creates the illusion that the characters on stage are speaking Irish when, in fact, they are speaking English. Translations is all about languages and the past. How we view the past, how we view how the past views the past - even the 'present day' of the play, as Friel wrote, is now the past to us, and he plays with this inevitability of time and change.
This play is studied at A level and Degree level, but should be read by anyone who is interested in the way that the present speaks of and to the past.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle for Irish Independence, 6 July 2011
By 
Mr. J. N. Plant (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Brian Friel's play 'Translations' is surely one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. I caught wind of a major production of the play at the Abbey theatre in Dublin. By its dates, mid-July to mid-August I thought it must come to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe but it isn't and it won't. I saw a production of 'Translations' at the Donmar some years back and want to see it again but alas I can't afford Dublin. Buying a copy of the play meant that I have two and sometime soon my wife and I will read it aloud.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A play set in another era that manages to touch this time and will continue to do so., 3 May 2013
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This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
A modern literary masterpiece with immense cultural and human insight. Friel succeeds in creating a highly readable, watchable play that reminds us of the importance of valuing what is at our core. In a time where what is held in esteem by so many young and not so young people is what is on the surface, the image we project, aspirations of being anything other than what we truly are; 'Translations' serves as a reminder of what is lost in the process.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a requirement for my English Literature Coursework, very interesting book., 22 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Translations (Faber Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Bought this book as I required it for my English Literature Coursework at school. Some people in my my class found it hard to read and interpret but the book is a lot more interesting than I initially thought it would be. I live in Ireland so it is always nice to read books relating to here. Very interesting to read and I would recommend it to everyone.
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Translations (Faber Paperbacks)
Translations (Faber Paperbacks) by Brian Friel (Paperback - 27 April 1981)
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