Mate Maras

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Mate Maras
Mate Maras Varazdin.jpg
Born2 April 1939 (1939-04-02)
Studenci near Imotski, Croatia
ResidencePoreč, then Zagreb
Alma materFaculty of Science, University of Zagreb
OccupationTranslator, writer and poet
Known forHis Croatian translations of Shakespeare, Rabelais, Dante, and others

Mate Maras (born 2 April 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[edit]

He was born in the village of Studenci near Imotski. His mother was a traditional folk poet whose songs chronicled local events. The Croatian dialect spoken in Studenci was later used by Maras for his translation of the sonnets of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, originally written in the Romanesco dialect.[1]

Maras graduated mathematics and physics from the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. He tried many careers, from geophysics to teaching to being a cultural attaché in Croatian embassies in Paris and Washington, DC. His cultural work includes editorial positions in several publishing houses, presiding the Croatian Translators' Society, and being the editor-in-chief of the cultural station (Treći Program) of the Croatian Radio.[2]

He has been translating from English, Italian and French since his student days. The authors he translated include Dante, Petrarch, Milton, 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.[3]

Maras obtained a honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Split in 2017.[4]


Maras is the only man who translated the complete works of William Shakespeare into Croatian.[5] 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.

Own works[edit]

Maras published a collection of his own poetry, Kasna berba (A Late Vintage), in 2005.[6] He wrote Grgur Ninski, a film script/history play about the medieval Croatian bishop Gregory of Nin, which was published in 2013.[7]

In 2013, he wrote a novel about his emigrant father, Pisma od smrti (Letters From Death), "a monument to a life sacrificed in vain for vague ideals."[8][9] When he published a collection of his mother's letters, Maras called it Pisma od života (Letters From Life).[1]

He wrote the first Croatian rhyming dictionary.[10]

Major translations[edit]

From English[edit]

From French[edit]

From Italian[edit]

From Romanian[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Roman postmoderne asocijativnosti" (in Croatian). Vijenac. 2014.
  2. ^ "Evo zašto frustrirani biografi Shakespearea zovu našim suvremenikom" (in Croatian). TPortal. 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ Académie française: Palmarès 2000 Archived 2011-08-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Obilježen Dan Sveučilišta Split" (in Croatian). Nacional. 16 June 2017.
  5. ^ Zagreb Tourist Board, Mate Maras Presents his Translation Masterpiece
  6. ^ "Mate Maras Presented His Book A Late Vintage" (in Croatian). Index. 15 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Mate Maras" (in Croatian). Globus. 14 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Protagonist i njegov biograf" (in Croatian). Matica hrvatska. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Kapitalna mentalistička priča : Mate Maras: Pisma od smrti, Ex libris, Zagreb, 2013. : [prikaz]" (in Croatian). HAZU. 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  10. ^ The first Croatian rhyming dictionary : Mate Maras, Rhyming dictionary by Branka Džebić in Most/The Bridge literary magazine
  11. ^ "Nagrada Grada Zagreba u 2009. godini". Official Website of the City of Zagreb.
  12. ^ "Najveći rumunjski pjesnik prvi put u hrvatskom prijevodu" (in Croatian). Vijenac. 16 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Dodijeljene književne nagrade Kiklop za 2014" (in Croatian). Dnevnik. 14 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Prevoditelj Mate Maras nagrađen za životno djelo" (in Croatian). Večernji list. 1 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Preslikavanje ili funkcija" (in Croatian). Oris. 10 December 2015.