The twentieth century was one of the richest periods in history for literary
translations into Scots. Not since the sixteenth century has the Scots tongue been
the vehicle for such a volume and range of translations and adaptations. A powerful
factor in this blossoming of translation was the founding in the 1940s of a modern
tradition of translating drama into Scots. Alongside original plays in Scots, these
translations placed the vernacular at the heart of post-war Scottish drama. This
anthology celebrates the crucial contribution by translators for the stage to the
practice of both Scots playwriting and Scots literary translation. It further
demonstrates how the demands of translation for the stage help re-invent and extend
The collection comprises translations of classic plays from a variety of eras and
languages, produced over half a century by writers of different generations. Each
employs an individually-fashioned stage-Scots. It makes available texts that have
hitherto been difficult to find, with three of the translations published here for
the first time. In addition to full play-texts, the volume supplies an informative
introduction, notes, appendices, bibliography and a full glossary.
- Let Wives Tak Tent by Robert Kemp from Molière (1948)
- The Burdies by Douglas Young from Aristophanes (1959)
- The Servant o’ Twa Maisters by Victor Carin from Goldoni (1965)
- The Hypochondriak by Hector MacMillan from Molière (1987)
- Mr Puntila and his Man Matti by Peter Arnott from Brecht (1999)
Dr John Corbett is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language
at the University of Glasgow. He is author of Language and Scottish
Literature and Written in the Language of the Scottish Nation: A History of
Literary Translation into Scots. He co-edited and contributed to The
Edinburgh Companion to Scots.
Dr Bill Findlay was Reader in the School of Drama and Creative Industries, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. He edited A History of Scottish Theatre; Scots Plays of the Seventies; Frae Ither Tongues: Essays on Modern Translations into Scots and Scottish People’s Theatre.
Cover illustration: From left, Juliet Cadzow as Sarah Burnett, Ron Bain
as the servant Archie, and Paul Young as David Kennedy, in the Edinburgh Royal
Lyceum Theatre Company’s 1977 production of Victor Carin’s The
Servant o’ Twa Maisters (Scottish Theatre Archive, Glasgow University
Last updated 9 August 2010.