Brian Friel Translation essay

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Translation is an action done by Irish playwright, Brian Friel. It got written in 1980 and is a three act play. The setting of the play comes from Baile Beag, which occurred to be a small village in 19th century agricultural Ireland. Brian said that the play talks about language and language alone, but it stretches the meaning in other issues like communication to Irish history. He focused on political issues and said that the play could have been in Irish but due to popularity and sense he made it in English. The version in English made the political question come into true focus. The play was first played on 23rd September 1980 by Field Day Theater Company.


It happened in 1833 in Beag, a CountyDonegalIreland that many of the villages stayed in the village, and they did not know much about what existed out side the village. The tales about Greek goddesses become common just as potato crops. Despite of the tales in most high school they spoke Irish, Latin and Greek. The tool used by Friel to highlight language is communication in the village. The characters in the play speak their own language they included characters from Irish and those of English. They speak in this manner, but English becomes predominant (Brian, 1).

The play begins when Owen returns homer after going for school in Dublin for six years. He comes back with his British counterpart and acts as the translator between British and Irish. Yolland and Owen acted as translators of English and local for the placement of the map. Yolland falls in love with Ireland, but he becomes disgraced by the Irish culture and language. Manus becomes greedy after noticing that Yolland had fallen in love with Maire. This becomes clear when they show out their feelings for each other and kissed out then manus finds then and plots to kill Yolland (Brian 11).

Yolland disappears over night and he could not get traced again, in the process Marie stays thinking that Yolland could come one day being well and health, and this come out as a result of love she had for him, she could not have a bad feeling. Manus disappears from the village because he was hearted and he did not want to stay in the village to see Marie all the time. The captain threatens to destroy the property of all houses in the village and gave people a twenty four hour notice for the villager to give out Yolland or law to take action. The play ends with the schoolmaster Hugh telling people to go back to their places. The play focuses on British and Ireland and tells on the difficulty in language and communication. It uses language and communication as a tool to show the desperate and hard situation faced by the two and the out comes of the different language (Brian, 10).

Translation difficulties in translation analysis

Friel explains the point of the hardness in language and tells the inconveniences and problems associated with language problem. The play shows out the application of distancing of thought, language and meaning. Communication could be thought to be straightforward, but when they perceive in depth the meaning contradict the statement made by the players. When Sarah had to explain the where about of Huge many mimes got evidenced, and this created a lot of meaning when Menus demanded Sarah to explain to him where Huge could have been. “Tell me all those secrete that have been in that head of yours”. The need of language was there, but the application of language convinced all these issues and brought more confusion (Brain, 7).

In this play, the language seems to have been irrelevant to communication because many players communicate to each other but the meaning of the language they pass becomes the opposite of what they communicate. This got evidenced in many occasion like when Marie and Yolland waves to each other but Marie say to Yolland that he is wasting his time, because she do not know what he says. They communicate, but the language passed makes the parties have a different perception of their communication. Yolland insisted telling her “I do not know what you’re saying” but they did not communicate and they left showing up signs. The two characters did not show the meaning of language in communication (Scott, 35).

Communication got evidenced from the talk between Manus and Sarah. Sarah fails to tell Manus the feeling she has for him and what she thinks of him. Then manus remain silent and refuse to talk while in the shop and the clients goes away claiming that he did not attend the shop. This shows the principal of language because without language individual can become unhelpful and suffer. This shows that without language communication cannot help and people can suffer as the clients said that Manus was not there, and that meant that if they wanted emergency assistant they could have died helpless. Sarah fails to explain the feeling she has for manus, and this makes her suffer inside without being assisted. The language could have assisted her to get what she wanted, but because she did not show out she suffered alone (Brain, 5).

Communication get more complete when individuals bases there argument on their own vocabulary. Like Jimmy who knows only one English word “bosom”. He knows this word because it sticks in the mind easily and he practices it each time. The word makes him to fell proud because he can talk an English word and his mind can get the word without difficulties. Marie makes a declaration that “I want English”. Her purpose to make such declaration becomes an advancement of her prospects in America. Daniel O” Connell prefers the use of English by the people, and he makes people use and learn on how to use English. He went out and uses Irish language when asking for people to give him votes (Scott, 34).

The use of language form this play can be seen as a mean to certify individuals’ desire and make him or her get what he wants. Individuals use the language which they see can benefit them and make them acquire what they want. Individuals have been applying the language which becomes beneficial at that time. For example, Daniel advocates the use of English language but at the time of the campaign he goes out to campaign using Irish language. Marie decides to lean English, not for other benefit but to fulfill her desire he had to go to America. All individuals in the play did not show the application of language and used of common language as beneficial to all people, but it happened to suit an individual’s interest (Brain, 4).

The application of signs and words become the means of language which passed out communication, but they brought out different meaning to people. Jimmy leaned agricultural method from Virgils, but Lancey declares that the method Jimmy talked meant nothing to him. He did not value the culture of the people and the signs used by the people could not have any meaning to him even if he understands. The play makes the words have change from time to time, but Huge declares words as images and they change as time passes on. Lancey claims that he can not understand the words of Jimmy because he was not born at the ancient time when those words were applied. The language changes with time and meaning of words changes as time changes (Scott, 20).

The application of language get base from the familiarity of the person with the other and the one he regards while talking. When people who are familiar talk to each other, they lessen careful in order to get the meaning or the idea the person tries to make, but when unfamiliar people talk they do not draw attention. The individuals in the play use the language to suit their interest, and when they communicate they pass their information and think that the information has being received even the person they address do not receive the meaning of their talk. The play portrays language as an instrument to suit and accomplish individuals’ mission and get the desire of humankind. Friel portrays language in many styles and meaning. The language assists individuals because human beings are social by nature and without language people can not make in life. People should respect others felling and make sure they get the message and respect the messages given to them (Brian, 10).


The play gives the world useful meaning of language application and communication to individuals. People should respect the aspect of communication because through communication many people have developed in life while other fails. People should consider their communication modes and abilities and their counterparts because many people uses language to win a heart in order to misuse or get revenge. People should practice their culture and put in practice what they learned from their ancestors in order to avoid confusion of word. 

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