Mate Maras (born April 2, 1939) is a Croatian translator. He has translated many famous classical and contemporary works from English, Italian and French into Croatian. He is the only man who translated the complete works of William Shakespeare into Croatian. His translation of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel earned him the grand prix of the French Academy. He wrote the first Croatian rhyming dictionary.
Life and works
He was born in the village of Studenci near Imotski. His mother was a traditional folk poet whose songs chronicled local events.
Maras graduated mathematics and physics from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Zagreb. He tried many careers, from teaching to working in Croatian diplomacy in Paris and Washington, DC. But he has been translating from English, Italian and French since his student days. The authors he translated include Dante, Petrarch, Scott, Kipling, Proust and Frost.
He was awarded the Prize of the Croatian Translators' Society for his translation of Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and the grand prix of the French Academy for translating Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel.
Maras is the only man who translated the complete works of William Shakespeare into Croatian. The translation was published in four volumes: Histories, Tragedies, Comedies, and Romances & Poetry (the last volume includes the problem plays).
The main novelty in relation to the previous Croatian translations is the verse translating method. A recurrent problem in the history of Shakespeare's translations in Croatia was the Croatian equivalent for the original blank verse. The usual practice was to choose a meter with a certain number of feet and stick to it, verse after verse. But its drawback was a rigid structure that often distorted the original, since it was usually too short to retain the full meaning of the original verse.
Instead of slavishly following a specific meter, Maras decided to remain as faithful as possible to the original meaning. For that reason, he introduced the principle of five "prominent points" in each verse. In fact, those were five relevant pieces of information from each original verse, to be translated in a poetic and rhythmic language akin to free verse, achieving an unprecedented fluent and natural flow of Shakespeare's plays in Croatian.
- Beowulf, Zagreb, 2001
- William Shakespeare, Complete Works. Zagreb, 2006-2008
- Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Zagreb, 1987, 2000, 2004
- Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Zagreb, 1987, Koprivnica, 2003
- Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book, Zagreb, 2004
- Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, Zagreb, 1981
- Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel, Zagreb, 1978
- Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, Koprivnica, 2003
- Robert Frost, Chosen Poems, Zagreb, 2006
- Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook, Zagreb, 1983; Memoirs of a Survivor, Zagreb, 1985
- Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, Zagreb, 1984
- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Zagreb, 1982
- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore, Zagreb, 2009
- Marie de France, Lais, Zagreb, 1999
- François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Zagreb, 2004
- Marcel Proust, Swann's Way, Zagreb, 2004
- Guido Cavalcanti, Poems, Banja Luka, 1986, Zagreb, 1998
- Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy (Paradise XVII-XXXIII), Zagreb, 1976, 2004
- Francesco Petrarca, Poems (with others), Zagreb, 1974
- Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron (with Jerka Belan), Zagreb, 1981, 1999, 2004
- Niccolò Machiavelli, Firentine Histories, Zagreb, 1985; Correspondence, Zagreb, 1987
- Giordano Bruno, Optimism of Free Thought (sonnets), Zagreb, 1985
- Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, Sonnets, Zagreb, 1994
- Alberto Fortis, Voyage to Dalmatia, Zagreb, 1985, Split, 2004
- Gabriele D'Annunzio, Giovanni Episcopo, Zagreb, 2004
- Italo Svevo, The Conscience of Zeno, Zagreb, 1982
- Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard, Zagreb, 1982
- Mihai Eminescu, The Evening Star, Zagreb, 1995
- Prize of the Croatian Translators' Society for translating Mrs Dalloway.
- Grand Prix of the French Academy for translating Gargantua and Pantagruel.
- Iso Velikanović Award (2007) for translating Shakespeare's works.