Saturday, January 22

The extraordinary story of the first Mandarin translation of “Don Quixote de la Mancha”

  • Laura Plitt
  • BBC World News

Don Quixote

Image source, Getty Images


Don Quixote in the Chinese version is more “worthy” than the character created by Cervantes.

English? Not a word. Spanish? Less … Classic Mandarin? Excellent. Energy and enthusiasm? To gush.

The lack of knowledge of the Spanish language —as well as any other Western language— was not an impediment for the renowned Chinese lawyer to Lin Shu would engage in the monumental task of translate The ingenious hildago don Quijote de la Mancha ” to the Chinese language.

With the help of his friend Chen Jialin, who had read an already distorted English text and patiently related it to him in Baihua, the colloquial Mandarin, Lin Shu got down to business.

And so on 1922, the first Chinese translation of the work of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born.

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