Andres Urrutia, new president of Euskaltzaindia (Academy of the Basque language)

2004 December 23
Andres Urrutia, new president of Euskaltzaindia (Academy of the Basque language)

Andres Urrutia will replace Jean Haritchelhar, latter president of Euskaltzaindia, elected by absolute majority by the members of the Academy of the Basque Language. Together with Urrutia, the following members will form the Management Committee of the Academy: Beñat Oihartzabal, Vice-President; Xabier Kintana, Secretary; Jose Luis Lizundia, Treasur; Henrike Knörr, Head of Research Department; and Andres Iñigo, Head of the Tutelary Department. Urrutia is a well experienced translator.


Andres Urrutia Badiola was born in Bilbao on the 21 Dicember 1954. He studied law at the University of Deusto, where he got the degree in 1976. After passing the public exams to become a solicitor, he worked as notary in Ondarroa from 1981 to 1994. Since then, he is notary in Bilbao. Moreover, he is also professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Deusto. Namely, he has made big efforts within the university to use Basque language in the field of law.

He has been a member for the Advisory Council of the Basque language between 1984 and 1988. He is the author of a large number of lexicographical and terminological works on the subject of law, carried out at the association UZEI and the Institute Labayru. Amongst others, he actively took part for the commission of experts who prepared the Foral Law (customary law) of the Basque Country.

In 1991 he was appointed associate member of the Basque Academy Euskaltzaindia, and on the 21 March 1997, six years later, full member of the Basque Academy, replacing Alfontso Irigoien. His introduction speech was given in Bilbao on the «Complexity of law: from oral to written».

Within the Academy, he is member of the Project "Systematic Recompilation of nowadays´ Basque Language", and up to now he has been President of the Tutelary Department.

Translator of Legal Texts

Andres Urrutia has developed a significant translation work of legal texts into Basque. Together with Gotzon Lobera, former president of EIZIE, has coordinated the law manuals in Basque language published by the University of Deusto (civil law, commercial law, history of law, labour law...) and the bilingual editions of legal texts, such as, the updated version of the Spanish Constitution in 2003 203.php, arranged by the Academy, in collaboration with professors in the Law Faculty of the University of Deusto.

Likewise, the Basque version of the Civil Law has been published the present year and for the first time in history. The version managed by Urrutia has been created by the Law Faculty of the University of Deusto, the Institute of Basque Studies and the Basque Institute of Public Administration.

In the same way, he has done research work on ancient Basque law texts; amongst others, he has just published an analysis of a collection of Basque law texts related to the "General Assembly of Bizkaia and the Basque Language" (Bizkaiko Batzar Nagusiak eta euskara: 1833-1877 Euskarazko testuen bilduma eta azterketa)

Literature Translator

Resides his work as a translator of legal texts, Andres Urrutia is a thorough literature translator. He has published the Basque version of three Galician books: the already classic Memorias dun neno labrego (Mutiko baserritar baten oroitzapenak, Memories of a farmer kid, 1988, Labayru Ikastegia) by Xosé Neira Vilas; Retorno a Tagen Ata (Tagen Atarako itzulera, Return to Tagen, 2000, Labayru Ikastegia), by Xosé Luis Méndez Ferrín; and Dúas bágoas por Máquina (Bi malko makinarengatik, Two tears for machine, 1999, Elkarlanean), by Fina Casalderrey. He is also the translator of several stories from authors like Méndez Ferrín, Alvaro Cunqueiro, JRR Tolkien and James Joyce.