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I'm currently translating this Japanese article, which used quote from Hamlet Act 5, Scene 2.

In this article, they quoted

"来るべきものは、今来なくとも、いずれは来る。"

so I want to use the actual phrase from Hamlet, but it turns out that there are more of this particular phrase.

The following are the original context and its Japanese translation.

If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?

来るべきものは、今来なくともいずれは来る。今来れば、後には来ない。後に来なければ、今来るだけのこと。 肝腎なのは覚悟だ。いつ死んだらいいか、そんなことは考えてみたところで、誰にも判りはしない。所詮、あなた任せさ。 (ハムレット、第5幕第2場)

My problem I'm not sure which line matches with each other. I believe that the translation has rearranged/reordered these 3 sentences somehow? such that

来るべきものは、今来なくともいずれは来る。= "if it be not to come, it will be now"

今来れば、後には来ない。 = "If it be now, ‘tis not to come;"

後に来なければ、今来るだけのこと。= if it be not now, yet it will come:"

or whether it already followed the English order?

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    The suggestion of "3=A, 1=B and 2=C" looks good. – Lawrence May 19 '17 at 15:05
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is simply not germane to the site. This person can go look up Shakespeare on several sties. His works are available in full on the internet. Furthermore, the Japanese is really off topic. – Lambie May 19 '17 at 15:07
  • @Lambie I did look up Shakespeare on several sites, but most of the explanations I found provide the meaning of the whole paragraph not really the meaning of each individual sentence. I even found this question, which further confused me. I have already asked this in Japanese Language forum, but they are not sure either. The focus of this question is that I cannot even match English with English (translation), which is why decide to ask in this forum. – Maru May 19 '17 at 15:25
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    I posted an illustration to show a possible reason the order differs between English and Japanese. – mackygoo May 19 '17 at 15:41
  • You may be over-thinking this. The language is a little old-fashioned but the idea is simple--if it doesn't happen now, it will happen later (and vice-versa) so it really doesn't matter whether it happens now or later. – Xanne May 19 '17 at 21:12
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Given:
来るべきものは、今来なくともいずれは来る。= If it be now, 'tis not to come;
今来れば、後には来ない。 = if it be not to come, it will be now;
後に来なければ、今来るだけのこと。 = if it be not now, yet it will come:

You:
来るべきものは、今来なくともいずれは来る。= "if it be not to come, it will be now"
今来れば、後には来ない。 = "If it be now, ‘tis not to come;"
後に来なければ、今来るだけのこと。= if it be not now, yet it will come:"

Me:
来るべきものは、今来なくともいずれは来る。= if it be not now, yet it will come:"
今来れば、後には来ない。 = "If it be now, ‘tis not to come;"
後に来なければ、今来るだけのこと。= "if it be not to come, it will be now"

enter image description here

  • You got the same answer with @Igor 's one, so I think you guys are right. But since I got nothing to lose, I wanna try ask in the English Language forum as well and I'll let you know the answer ^_^ – Maru May 19 '17 at 14:34
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  • Shakespeare: If it be now, 'tis not to come;
  • Literal: If something will happen now, then it cannot happen later (it cannot be delayed).
  • Figurative: If my death is supposed to happen now, it will, and I cannot change my fate/destiny.
  • Japanese sentences above: most similar to "B"

    '

  • Shakespeare: if it be not to come, it will be now;

  • Literal: If something cannot happen later, it must happen now.
  • Figurative: If my death is supposed to happen now, it will, and I cannot change my fate/destiny (same figurative meaning as the above, just said differently).
  • Japanese sentences above: most similar to "C"

    '

  • Shakespeare: if it be not now, yet it will come:

  • Literal: If something doesn't happen now, it will still happen later.
  • Figurative: My death will happen, and even if I'm not supposed to die now, I will die when it my death is fated/destined to happen.
  • Japanese sentences above: most similar to "A"
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Here's how I would translate the Japanese version:

来るべきものは、今来なくともいずれは来る。

The thing which must come, even if it doesn't come now, eventually it will.
=If it be not now, yet it will come

今来れば、後には来ない。

If it comes now, it won't come later.
=If it be now, 'tis not to come;

後に来なければ、今来るだけのこと。

It it's not coming later, it should come now.
=if it be not to come, it will be now;

I tried to line them up with the original English but I'm not really sure it works...

  • My problem is that I would like to match these translations with the exact phrase from Hamlet and I found that really confusing T_T should I give Shakespeare forum a try? lol – Maru May 19 '17 at 14:20
  • see the edit. it seems they rearranged the things a bit, possibly to make it clearer (TBH the original is pretty confusing to me). – Igor Skochinsky May 19 '17 at 14:25

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