ABSTRACT

This ironic apology for translation is made by the well-known character created by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, and it is addressed to a translator don Quixote happens to meet at a print shop in Barcelona.1 This translator has completed a Castilian version of a Tuscan book, and he is having it printed at his own expense. He tells don Quixote that the first edition-obviously he assumes that there will be more than one-will consist of nothing less than two thousand copies, and that he expects to gain, at least, one thousand ducats from the sales.2 Don Quixote is skeptical of the enterprise’s success and he warns the enthusiastic translator: “I promise you that when you find yourself burdened with two thousand copies of the book, your body will be so sore that you will be amazed, especially if the book goes astray a little and doesn’t lack spice.”3 The literal burden that these volumes will become for the translator is even more impressive if we take into account that, as my previous chapter has shown, translators would often go as far astray as to double the size of the original work.