Each season the Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers special performances of plays featuring open captions in Spanish. Cuban-born Lia Beeson provides many of the translations. As we lunched at the Breadboard restaurant, Lia told me about translating for theater at OSF and her flight from Cuba.
EH: You do translations for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival?
LB: The last thing I translated was the Octavio Solis adaption of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” for the performance featuring open captions in Spanish. In special shows, while the play goes on on-stage, they show Spanish captions for the Spanish-speaking audience. It’s different from a regular translation. I follow the guidelines for subtitling movies. The translator tries to put down as simple and as readable words as possible; 30 to 50 percent of the dialogue is supposed to be dropped off. The pride in translation is to provide language that is just as elegant and appealing as it is in the other language. You can’t do that in a caption and expect the people to read it. Usually I only do open-caption translations for them, but OSF also asked me for a full translation of “Don Quixote.”