Mate Maras

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Mate Maras

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.

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, 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.[1]

Aside from translations, he wrote the first Croatian rhyming dictionary.[2]

Maras published a collection of his own poetry, Kasna berba (A Late Vintage), in 2005.[3]

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."[4][5]


Maras is the only man who translated the complete works of William Shakespeare into Croatian.[6] 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.

Major translations[edit]

From English[edit]

From French[edit]

From Italian[edit]

From Romanian[edit]