Anthology of Present day Narrative Basque
Juan Mari Becerra


Although the number of texts transiated from basque to other languages is quite small, it must be said that it is growing. Proof of that could be the book entitled Anthology of Present day Narrative Basque, which, launched by the Association of Basque Writers was published in 1986. Ten texts appear in this book (short-stories as well as pans from novels) and they go, coupled with their respective translations which for the most pan have been done by the writers themselves though in some cases by someone else.

The object of this tendencies is to show, in only a few lines the tendencies and criteria continued to be used in Basque Narrative and to see to what extent the translations are correct —whit a view to general conclusions always.

To do this, we have tried to show in a simple and objective way, the errors and imprecisions in various illustrative examples. The first observation is that in general the translations have no homogeneity. We believe that this may be because they have all been done by different translators, none of them being professional translators.

As the main principle in all anthologies is to offer some son of unity of the texts, one of the things which we would most criticeze here would be the lack of coherency in the elaboration of the translations. This lack of unity may be justified by the three tendencies or criteria which have been followed:

  • The dinamic tendency or meaning. (A. Lertxundi, Txillardegi, B. Atxaga M. Hernandez and L. Mintegi). These texts give us the impression that they are versions rather than translations; in our opinion they should be strongly criticized and are a clear example of how not to translate.
  • The fommalist or literal tendency: (B. Oyarzabal, M. Gonzalez, J.A. Arrieta). These translations are quite acceptable to us though occasionally one might say that they have made mistakes in the choice of lexic.
  • The balanced tendency. (R. Saizarbitona, K. Izagirre). This tendency comes somewhere between the above two tendencies, and it is in our opinion the way in which literature should be translated, and is the way in which most translators of literature work.

All this goes to show that a safe model of translating Basque is needed.

So far as the editing of the book is concemed, seeing the mistakes and absent mindedness, which can be seen throughout the whole of it, we do not think it has been carried out nearly as well as we would have hoped or as well as it has been proclamed by the Writer's Association.

The main conclusion we can come to with this anthology is the lack of seriousness (and may be of proffesionalism) on the part of the writers and those responsible for the translation of the anthology. Therefore we think that concerning both the elaboration of the anthology and the editing, the effort made has not been a serious one, and that this "anthology" does not represent well either in the selection, or in its realization, what present day Basque narrative really is.