A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Translation

A UCLA classics professor spikes her version of the Roman Plautus with shots of American culture

Amy Richlin admits that the difficulties in translating Poenulus — a comedy likely written between 224 B.C. and 184 B.C. by the Roman playwright Plautus — begin with the work's title.

"Poenulus" (which, according to Ms. Richlin, literally means "The Little Punic Guy") is a reference more likely to leave modern audiences scratching their heads than rolling in the