This page pulls together a bunch of Shakespeare translator resources from across the web to help you translate Shakespeare into modern English, and in some cases modern English to Shakespearean-style language.
Shakespeare wrote in early modern English, which means many of his words have evolved in their meaning over the last 400 years. At times this makes it difficult to fully understand his works…which is where sites like NoSweatShakespeare, and other Shakespeare translation sites come in. The resources below should help you understand Shakespeare at a much more granular level. If you’re aware of any other good translation tools, please do let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
Shakespeare’s Words Translated:
- Shakespeare dictionary – find all of Shakespeare’s tricky words with an explanation in modern, simple English.
- Old EnglishTranslation allows you to translate words from old English (defined here as spoken between the 5th and 12th century in what is now England and Southern Scotland) to modern English, and vice versa. A straight-up English translator, highly recommended.
- ShakespeareWords.com is the online version of the well-known language companion, allowing you to search for any word or phrase in Shakespeare’s works to get its modern-day meaning, in their glossary.
Shakespeare’s Sentences and Phrases Translated:
- One of the few modern English to Shakespeare translators is LingoJam – type in your English and get fun translations into Shakespeare’s language.
- SpeakShakespeare claims to be a Shakespeare translator but the jury’s out as we’ve been unable to get any decent results from it.
Shakespearean English Translation Software:
- Want to translate Shakespeare on the go? This nifty app available from itunes is a Shakespeare translator for your iphone.
- Download Babylon Translation, a Shakespeare translator software that translates Shakespeare to English, but multiple languages.
And of course we have a whole lot of Shakespeare translation resources right here on NoSweatShakespeare!
- All about Shakespearean insults
Why was the English language so creative in Shakespeare’s time?
Shakespeare’s era was after old English and firmly in early modern English. Around this time there was a huge inflow of other European vocabularies into the English language as a result of Renaissance cross-pollination. This created new variations for English words, and allowed endless possibilities for Shakespeare.
In Love’s Labours Lost he is able to exploit multiple meanings of one word to create a sentence like ‘Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile.’ – ‘intellect,’ ‘wisdom,’ ‘eyesight’ and ‘daylight’. (It’s worth checking out this article on Shakespeare original pronunciation to understand the ways in which Shakespeare used pronunciation as well as the words themselves to get his characters’ meaning across.)
thou wouldst be great
This letter doth make good the friar’s words,
Their course of love, the tidings of her death;
And here he writes that he did buy a poison
Of a poor ’pothecary, and therewithal
Came to this vault to die and lie with Juliet.
Where be these enemies? Capulet, Montague,
See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punished.
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus’ lodging. Such a waggoner
As Phaeton would whip you to the west
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaway’s eyes may wink, and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk’d of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties: or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Play’d for a pair of stainless maidenhoods.
Hood my unmann’d blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle, till strange love, grow bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night, come Romeo; come, thou day in night;
Hi Amanda, you can see an explanation of this soliloquy here: https://nosweatshakespeare.mystagingwebsite.com/quotes/soliloquies/gallop-apace-you-fiery-footed-steeds/
Get out here! Accursed witch!
And him besides rides fierce revenging Wrath,
Upon a Lion, loth for to be led;
And in his Hand a burning Brond he hath,
The which he brandisheth about his Head;
His Eyes did hurle forth Sparkles fiery red,
And stared stern on all that him beheld,
As Ashes pale of hew and seeming dead;
And on his Dagger still his Hand he held;
Trembling through hasty Rage, when Choler in him swell’d.
His ruffin Raiment all was stain’d with Blood
Which he had spilt, and all to Rags yrent,
Through unadvised Rashness woxen wood;
For of his Hands he had no government,
Ne car’d for Blood in his avengement:
But when the furious Fit was overpast,
His cruel Facts he often would repent;
Yet wilful Man he never would forecast,
How many Mischiefs should ensue his heedless hast.
Full many Mischiefs follow cruel Wrath;
Abhorred Bloodshed and tumultuous Strife,
Unmanly Murder, and unthrifty Scath,
Bitter Despight, with Rancour’s rusty Knife,
And fretting Grief the Enemy of Life;
All these, and many Evils moe haunt Ire,
The swelling Spleen, and Phrenzy raging rife,
The shaking Palsey, and Saint Frauncis’ Fire:
Such one was Wrath, the last of this ungodly Tire.
be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen
the whole Macbeth play in modern English
how are you doing
just what to say: don’t give up in these times
this is the best my boy steve loved it
O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.