Translations Summary
by Brian Friel

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Translations Summary

Translations is a play by Brian Friel which deals with language, Irish history, and cultural imperialism. It is set in a small village in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1833. The villagers speak a mixture of English and Irish, while also learning Greek and Latin. The action starts with Owen returning to the village after six years away, along with Captain Lancey and Lieutenant Yolland, who are both working on a map survey of Ireland for the Ordnance Survey. A love triangle develops between Yolland, Owen's brother Manus, and a local woman, Maire. Yolland goes missing overnight and Manus leaves because his heart is broken over Maire. Yolland's English regiment forms a search party, rampaging across the valley and threatening to shoot the villagers if Yolland is not found. The play ends ambiguously, with Owen and the other villagers forming a resistance, but many of the plot lines are left unresolved.