Signed Shakespeare

Translating Shakespeare, into a different language is always a challenge, that challenge becomes multiplied when that language is not even spoken. American Sign Language is a beautiful, kinetic and literal language how does Shakespeare’s language so ripe figurative language translate?
American Sign Language is not just English codified into a manual form. It has its own grammar, vocabulary an anything else a language may have. Unlike English grammar, ASL grammar is loose and flexible. A simple example of an American Sign Language sentence is MORNING FINISH SEE I DOG BROWN RUN . Although to us it reads like caveman speak when really it translates to This morning I saw a brown dog run. In english this sentence would seem, elementary but the fantastic thing in ASL the descriptions can be worked in by playing with rhythm, fluidity, and hand shapes. It is due to this flexibility that while it is impossible to fully capture all the magnificence of Shakespeare’s language, some of the poetry can still be translated!


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