JoLIE 4/2011

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Mirna Sindičić Sabljo

University of Zadar, Croatia






Samuel Beckett was a bilingual writer and a self-translator. He began writing in English, switched to French and then returned to English. The switch to French corresponds with a significant change in his style of writing. Given that Beckett revised his works while translating them into another language, there are numerous versions of his writings. His translations represent new and parallel texts. Beckett’s critics generally consider his self-translations as texts which extend and amplify the original, as a kind of creative critical commentary of the original text. Thirty texts written by Samuel Beckett were translated into the Croatian language from 1958 to 2010. Most of the translations were made soon after the success of Waiting for Godot Parisian premiere (1953), after the Nobel Prize attribution and after Beckett’s death. Seven texts were translated from the second (self-translated) version instead of the one first written. These translations were not followed by translators’ notes that justify the choice of a certain version, showing that the translator in question was aware of Beckett’s bilingual poetics and that both versions were consulted during the translation process. Beckett’s Old monolingual translations should be reconsidered and revised in the light of Beckett’s bilingualism. Translators should clearly state which version of the text (English or French) is being translated and they should consult the other version in order to clarify unclear parts of the text, as well as solve the problems of interpretation. Both versions could be translated separately, if they differ significantly.


Key words: Samuel Beckett; Bilingualism; Self-translation; Translation.





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How to cite this articleSindičić Sabljo, M. (2011). Beckett’s bilingualism, self-translation and the translation of his texts into the Croatian languageJournal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 4, 163180. DOI:



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