Translating boulevard comedy

Is it possible to evaluate the adequacy of theatre translation?


  • Sára Dvořáková ÚTRL FF UK


boulevard comedy, theatre translation, adequacy of a translation


Due to its historical development and restrictions that French theatre artists had to face in the beginning, boulevard comedy is viewed as a farce about the everyday problems of ordinary men and women. Its only aim is to entertain the audience. In the Czech environment, boulevard comedy occupies an important place, especially for financial reasons, which can motivate both theatre artists and translators, who then resort to various abbreviated translations, shifts in meaning and incomprehensibility of individual lines. However, boulevard comedy encompasses a wide range of positions and comedies, from the most ridiculous farce full of wacky moves or conversational comedy based on wordplay to philosophical treatises on the meaning of life. Is the translator's task to produce a typical, commercially successful comedy, or to understand author's intention and individual situations and to translate them into the target language and culture in a way that preserves the original meaning? Is it possible, as with literary texts, to judge the adequacy of a theatre translation when neither the translation nor the original text is a final product?