Shakespeare’s language is basically modern, but because of the length of some of the passages and the occasional contextual obscurities, readers often find the language a barrier. Because it’s necessary to stop and work out Shakespeare’s meaning at those times, students can easily lose sight of the whole.
The concept of our NoSweatShakespeare modern English Shakespeare ebooks is simple, but the effects are significant:
- The ebooks are novelizations which retain the words of Shakespeare’s texts wherever possible. Difficulties are solved by slightly altered wording that clarifies meaning without slowing down the pace.
- The settings are described as they are in novels, with the actions and spatial positions of characters made clear as novel-like narratives.
- Soliloquies are presented as inner views of the character’s mind or other narratives, while the language and sense are retained.
Care has been taken to ensure that every line of the original is transformed into the kind of English that young people can relate to. Archaisms are carefully replaced with close modern equivalents; Shakespeare’s wordplay is mirrored by a modern form of wordplay, retaining the humour and the freshness, and obscure references are teased out to inform students of their meanings, while not interrupting the flow. The result is a text that is in some parts a line-by-line parallel but with a freedom that gives a contemporary text while using ninety percent of Shakespeare’s words.
The author – Ralph Goldswain – is a teacher with more than thirty years’ experience and a distinguished record of teacher and student education in Shakespeare’s work. He is also an established fiction writer. Our texts are the result of these two strands of his experience. Take a look at some samples of Shakespeare’s plays translated to see how they work.
NoSweatShakespeare for Teachers
The concept of No Sweat Shakespeare ebooks as teaching resources is simple, but the effects are significant.
The result is a swift, exciting read that can be done together in class or individually by students. Teachers who have used these resources have found that students need no help to read and understand the story and gain a feel for Shakespeare’s language. They emerge from the reading – which can be achieved almost in one sitting – as though from a performance of the play, but with everything clear. Take a look at some samples of Shakespeare’s plays translated to see how they work.
The NoSweatShakespeare modern English Shakespeare ebooks are aimed at 12-18 year-olds, and are ideal for IB, SAT, GCSE, Key Stage 3, AS Level, A-Level etc.
No Sweat Shakespeare ‘s novelisations have been designed to be read in conjunction with the Shakespeare texts. They are set out in the form of Acts and Scenes and students can have both texts in front of them. The relevant passage in the Shakespeare translation will clarify everything that causes difficulty in the original Shakespeare text.
The parallel line-by-line translations that were the only kind available before the No Sweat Shakespeare concept was developed are constrained by a too exact ‘fit’, resulting in complex sentences that are not recognisable as contemporary modern English, and still difficult for students to decipher. No Sweat Shakespeare’s texts are fast, easy read.
Each of these Shakespeare teaching and learning resources is presented in an Adobe PDF document. Extracts, or the whole text, can be photocopied for whole class use. Parts of it can be included in worksheets. There is no end to the flexibility in the use of these unique Shakespeare teaching resources.
NoSweatShakespeare for Parents
No Sweat Shakespeare for parents: Parents often help their children with their homework and school assignments. It can be quite difficult at times and parents may then have to consult a reference. If a thirteen-year-old says something like ‘I just can’t make head or tail of this speech in Romeo and Juliet’ her mother will look at the speech and perhaps she will make head or tail of it. But sometimes she won’t. Our site will help her. Not only can she get the speech, with a modern English translation, but she can also get the whole play, translated into modern English in the relevant ebook. The books are written as novels in the way that novels for children and adolescents are written. The book is far more friendly than translations with the text on one side of the page and the translation on the other because the child can read it right through and get a feeling for the story, the characters, the language, and the ideas, just like reading a novel.
The assignment may be to do with Shakespeare’s life, or a survey of the plots of his plays, or something to do with the characters. Or it may be that the child is working on a sonnet. All of these things are available on this site. Parents can also see which films have been made of the plays, operas, books based on them, and so on.
If you are a parent who likes to spend time working with your children on their Shakespeare work then nosweatshakespeare.com is the site for you.
NoSweatShakespeare for Students
When it comes to writing your coursework, preparing for your exam or simply understanding Shakespeare better, these modern Shakespeare ebooks are the perfect Shakespeare resources for students – both school and college-level study.
These modern English Shakespeare resources are aimed at 12-18 year-olds, and are ideal for IB, SAT, GCSE, Key Stage 3, AS Level, A-Level, etc.
Once you’ve read the modern language Shakespeare translation of your choice you’ll have a complete understanding of the story: You’ll know exactly what the characters are doing, where they are, and (the thing you most want to understand!) what they are saying, in clear modern English.
Read Macbeth, for example, as a fast-moving thriller, or Romeo and Juliet as a teenage novel with all its excitement, teenage emotion, and sadness – just like the novels you already read, only with a better story. If you don’t believe it check out a sample of one of Shakespeare’s plays translated into modern English to see for yourself.
These novels follow the structure of the plays very closely and are set out in the Acts and Scenes of Shakespeare’s texts. This means you could have both the No Sweat Shakespeare text and Shakespeare’s text in front of you and go from one to the other. All those difficult bits will disappear and you will have a full understanding of those parts you may have found tricky.
What’s more, not a single line of Shakespeare has been lost, so you will be able to pinpoint any word or phrase or sentence or speech in the Shakespeare text and follow it in every detail in the No Sweat Shakespeare modern text. And the most important thing is that all those obscure and difficult words, all those long speeches with sentences that seem never to come to an end, will spring off the page, funny, sad, thoughtful, exciting, and fresh, just as Shakespeare’s audiences would have experienced them, understanding every syllable immediately. There will be no more need to ‘work things out’.
The plays are downloadable in Adobe documents, so you’ll be able to read them on your favourite device – PC, laptop, phone, or tablet. Or simply print the whole thing out or just print the part that you’re working on. Once you’ve told your parents about it they’ll want to read it too, and you’ll be able to discuss the play with them. As soon as you show them the sample they will also know that the novel is exactly what you need for your Shakespeare learning.
Best of all, you can read the whole novel in an evening. It’s Shakespeare made easy and interesting – you won’t be able to put it down!
Read modern translations of Shakespeare’s plays >>