The text used in this translation is Pedro Bohigas-Balaguer's 1957-60 publication.
I have attempted throughout to remain as close to the Spanish as I reasonably could. This means that the English is at times somewhat stilted, but it fulfills its purpose of providing a readable and accurate substitute for the Spanish. I have resisted the temptation to break long Spanish sentences into shorter English ones, although I have sometimes rearranged clauses or added appropriate punctuation; long and complex sentences are crucial to the work's style. Many Spanish intensifiers (particularly the ubiquitous "bien") have been omitted, as their inclusion in English would add a floridity to the language which is not at all evident in Spanish. I have avoided most conscious archaisms, keeping only the Middle English interjection "certes" for "cierto," some Spanish titles of nobility, and the expression "to make dole" for "fazer duelo."
About translating names I have been remarkably inconsistent. For the most part, I have chosen not to deprive the reader of the pleasure of discovering Urberlanda to be Northumberland, Benuit to be Benwick, Galvan to be Gawain, and so forth. I have regularized the spelling and upon occasion changed it according to the rules of modern Spanish; generally, this has meant no more than changing "y" to "i" and "ç" to "z". Names which differ by no more than a letter or two, however, I have frequently chosen to keep in their more familiar English equivalents, as in Arthur (Artur), Blaise (Blaysen), and Camelot (Camalot); similarly, descriptive names which have been correctly translated into Spanish are equally correctly translated into English, as Little Britain for Pequeña Britaña.
The best apology I could possibly make for the doubtless sadly frequent errors which trouble this translation is to quote the words of Juan de Burgos's fictitious chamberlain in the Baladro itself: "And if any defect is found in anything written by me, which I do not doubt, most enlightened lord, I supplicate your royal majesty to command it to be corrected and emended, since I did not compile this book from my works, but transferred it from one language to another."
Some eight years after I first finished this, I am now placing it online. I hope it will be of use or pleasure to someone. I know a great many things now that I didn't know in 1990. I made some translating decisions in 1990 that I would make differently now. Unfortunately, I haven't time to give this the revision and polishing it needs (and I can't easily get hold of a copy of the text anyway!). I have chosen to put it up as is, in the belief that a flawed but available translation is better than none at all.
I owe many thanks to the members of my undergraduate honors project committee at Indiana University-Bloomington, who doubtless thought they were well rid of me after teaching me in various classes, but nonetheless suffered patiently through endless pestering with regard to this project: Dr. Luis Beltrán, Dr. Consuelo López-Morillas, and Dr. Willis Barnstone.
I am also grateful to Dr. Josep Sobrer for helping Dr. Barnstone teach me the rudiments of translation and for his constant good humor and encouragement, and to the late and much-lamented Dr. C. Clifford Flanigan for being enthusiastic and helpful even when firmly convinced I was stark raving mad. The 1993 Indiana University Medieval Symposium gave me an opportunity to air some of my thoughts and findings regarding the character of Merlin, and I thank its organizers for allowing an undergraduate to present a paper, and those who attended for lending kind and gently critical ears.
Finally, I thank my wise and ever-inquisitive husband David I. Salo for asking me "to read the Baladro and tell what it says," and for waiting the better part of three years for me to do so, and for waiting even longer to see it placed online.
This online publication is for C. Clifford Flanigan. He knows why.