Translation: Juan Mari Mendizabal

First and foremost, we have to apologise for this issue's delay. The reason for this can only be found in the situation of the Martutene Translators' School, which is in charge of this magazine. One more year has gone by without the School having achieved what it wants to be. Although the need for it has been recognised by many, no real solution has been found yet and, as a result, the teaching staff is considerably reduced and virtually unable to assume other tasks (such as this magazine). However, the Martutene Translators' School is going to be vibrant this year, mostly thanks to the will and efforts, the determination and obstinacy shown by both students and teachers. The existence of the magazine, since it seems condemned to suffer the ups and downs of the School, will depend on the existence of the latter.

As regards the contents of this issue, it deals almost in a monographic way with the place and mission of translation in language teaching. The topic is not entirely covered in this issue, even though it's a double issue. Indeed, this subject involves many aspects that should be looked at and investigated. Our situation is marked by certain specific phenomena. To begin with, it must be born in mind that teaching has had no great relevance in the transmission of Basque until recently, or, in other words, that teaching had a clear negative influence in the transmission of Basque, since the language received through family transmission was being obstructed by teaching, very often imparted only in Spanish or French. Nowadays it cannot be said that the situation has been reversed, but the language learned during instruction has extraordinary implications in the survival and spreading of Basque. On one hand, because Basque takes up a great part of children's instruction and there are hopes for the process to continue. On the other, because even for adults language learning has great influence on the change that has occurred in the language situation: the clear influence that public or almost public institutions like HABE or AEK have — if nothing else, in creating jobs, but these are not times for ironic humour. In short, formal language teaching, especially Basque teaching, has become one of the biggest businesses in this country. From that point of view, this country has taken on board a great challenge with all this, and has to analyse in detail all that has to do with language/Basque teaching, in order to reap the benefits of the investments made.

So we have to be on our toes with regard to every development around language teaching. Because today, especially in places where translation was the most marginalized field in language teaching, namely France and Germany, it is recovering its rightful place, in the context of the renewal of language didactics. Moreover, in our country at the present moment every —or almost every— Basque speaker is bilingual in either Basque/Spanish or Basque/French. Unfortunately, there is a widespread mistake in the sense that being a bilingual person and being a translator is the same thing —something we have often denounced from these pages. But in a bilingual society, a bilingual person is often forced to become a translator as well, so often in fact, that this situation can have extraordinary consequences in causing interferences between languages, at the expense of people's autonomous prior knowledge.

The society we all live in —we have mentioned this also many times in these pages— has to be bilingual or multilingual in the future. There is little doubt about that. But even though we know that, few efforts have been made to teach the languages which will be needed here —those of a bilingual society and those made necessary— both Basque and the rest of the languages at the same time, much in the same way as they exist in reality. Languages are taught individually, without it being realised that they are not individual, and bridge-building from one language to the other is left to the learner. And bridge-building is carried out, to be sure, even if language teaching methods close their eyes to it. It is the ability for translating, for language shift, that in the end builds the bilingual person's speech from amongst the filters of message meaning, operating as if on a seesaw —from the end of one language to the end of the other language.

This is but a sampler of the set of topics involved, but it will have long-lasting implications, for the good of Basque language teaching.