Translations Quotes


"Me a solder? I'm employed as a part-time, underpaid, civilian interpreter. My job is to translate the quaint, archaic tongue you people persist in speaking into the King's good English."


This is Owen's explanation of the job that he has been hired to do for the English Army. He is a product of the quaint archaic tongue and has willingly agreed to help in anglicizing the Irish placenames of the place where he was born. He sees it merely as a job.

"I wish to God you could understand me."


Yolland says this to Maire after the dance as they both attempt to interpret what the other is saying as they speak different languages. This is what the play is about, language, and this statement is contained in a scene where only one thing cuts through the language barrier: their affection for one another.

"Commencing twenty-four hours from now we will shoot all livestock in Ballybeg."


Captain Lancey and the English Army cannot find Lieutenant Yolland. Their solution is to brutalize the people of Baile Beag until they discover his whereabouts.

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