DON QUIXOTE TRANSLATION JOUST
Two star translators defending their work in a duel that sheds light on Don Quixote and translation
Don Quixote may be one of the best loved books in the world, but most of its readers have only encountered it mediated through the work of its translators. Why does that matter? Because each time a translator rewrites Cervantes’s novel in their own language, they are making a million little personal, creative choices that will affect how their readers experience it.
For this special event, we have commissioned star translators Peter Bush and Margaret Jull Costa to produce rival versions of the same short extract, which they will be defending tonight live on stage, in a translation duel that will shed light on Quixote itself and on how translation really works. Unlike normal duels, there probably won’t be actual bloodshed, but you never know. Refereed by Daniel Hahn.