Contexts of Russian Literary Translation
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700
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This article examines strategies implemented by Russian translators of Shakespeare’s sonnets 135 and 136 when dealing with puns on the word “will” in various senses. Seven translations spanning the period from 1880 to 2011 have been selected for analysis. These renderings of Shakespearian puns exhibit a wide range of translation strategies and various effects within the target texts. The analysis demonstrates that the majority of the selected translations reflect social taboos and censorship with regard to sexuality in Russian translated literature. However, two recent translations containing sexual allusions indicate changing norms in the post-Soviet period. Thus, translations of sexual puns may also be illustrative of the ways in which the target language’s norms influence the translators’ choices.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): pun; Russian; sexual; Shakespeare; sonnets; translation; wordplay
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