- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 21/03/2018
Every translator and translation agency, and everyone who wants to translate to and from the English language, should understand the influence of Shakespeare on the English language. Even if you have never seen a play written by William Shakespeare, there is a very good chance that you have used one or more of his words. This year the United Kingdom is celebrating the four hundred and fiftieth birthday of William Shakespeare. People from every part of the world are celebrating this occasion and for good reason.
In the first fifty-two years of his life, William Shakespeare did much to enrich the English language. His writings were so profound that it is hard to say exactly what impact he has had on the English language. His contributions were immense as he provided us with the most vivid terms with which to express various emotions, including hope and despair, sorrow and happiness. His contributions have helped people in every part of the world say things that they would have found impossible to say without having been exposed to his writings.
When looking at the influence of Shakespeare on the English language, it is important to look at some of his better known phrases. These phrases are but a tiny reflection of his influence on the English language. Being in a pickle and waiting with bated breath are just a couple of examples of the phrases he has given to the English language. Another example is the phrase the green-eyed monster, coined by Shakespeare to help express a sense of jealousy.
Shakespeare has had a profound influence on the English language. If you are entrusted to translate his words, then it is important you understand the use of phrases such as be-all-and-end-all, which was famously uttered in the play Macbeth. From The Tempest, we have the phrase “fair play”. He also contributed some knock-knock jokes in his Scottish plays.
Phrases that have become commonplace
To judge the influence of Shakespeare on the English language, we need to look at a few phrases which have become so widely used that they are now considered clichés. For example, a heart of gold is his phrase which was uttered in his play Henry V. The world is my oyster is another phrase that was used by Shakespeare in the Merry Wives of Windsor and which is now commonly used in the English language.
The contribution that Shakespeare has made to the English language is enduring in not just how people express themselves but also in how we experience life and how we process the world around us. He has given the English language terms like bedazzled, gloomy and grovel, that have become widely used in the English language.
It is a sign of greatness in a writer that his works are still being read and appreciated over four centuries after his death. As a translator or translation agency, it is imperative to understand the influence of Shakespeare on the English language to do a good job of translating not only his works but also the English language.