Some Purities that need to be settled


Apart from the problems typical of our profession, we, translators of Basque T.V. (ETB), sometimes have to deal with another enemy: The criticism coming from the purists. These people —sometimes rightly so– accuse us of resorting to copying rather than using equivalent expressions which are natural in Basque.

Nevertheless, problems arise when those equivalent expressions do not exist. In such cases, all we can do is copy. There is another possibility, that of periphrasis, but when it comes to translating films, we find that we are limited by the length of the text and such a possibility is of no use to us. We must copy, there is no other way. There is an additional difficulty, namely the "level" of the language. If, as a way out, we resort to Gotzon Garate's book "Erderismos", we find that nearly all the "pure" expressions appearing in it come from farmhouses from all over the Basque country. That level of Basque, however, is not good to us, the asphalt Basques, not to mention to us, the translators.

Although some may disapprove, we cannot make the "cops" from Harlem, or Sherlock Holmes, talk like the farmers from Altzaga.