A few years ago, Oxford University Press began publishing new translations of Greek Tragedies. For Oedipus at Colonus, the editors turned to a wife and husband team at Vassar College: the classicist, Rachel Kitzinger, and the Irish (now Irish-American) poet, Eamon Grennan.
I’ve found the explanatory material in their translation (published in 2005) quite interesting. Prof. Kitzinger’s Introduction to the play discusses, in part, the use of language to portray the strengths and weakness of the characters; I also like her references to how the staging of the play reinforces its meaning.
Some of Kitzinger’s back-of-the-book Notes on the Text are fascinating – such her comments about the rhytms of the Chorus and the uncertainty about some lines of the original Greek.
Prof. Grennan discusses with wit and insight the problems facing a translator (who, among other things, speaks no Greek.) He praises Fagles’ (and Robert Fitzgerald’s) translations. I have the impression that Grennan’s rendering of the play is a bit more free in its diction than Fagles’ – that is, when he must chose, he favors clarity and flow in English over closer adherence to the Greek. (For his part, Fagles’ translation is less stilted and easier to speak than many previous versions.)
I’ve posted both essays and the notes here. Rachel’s Introduction is long and if I had more time, I’d put together a selection of excerpts. But you’ll probably find it easy to skim sections that repeat discussions we’ve already had. At the least, I would recommend reading her final section – “Sophocles’ Gift to Athens” (p. 17ff). And Rachel’s four-page addendum about Greek performance practices contains the added authority of someone who has much first-hand experience staging the plays in their original language.