Koldo Biguri

Translation: Joe Linehan

SENEZ journal is about to celebrate ten years of existence during which time it has gone through an infinity of changes. It came into being at the Martutene School of Translation and it is now run by the Association of Translators, Correctors and Interpreters of the Basque Country (EIZIE). Apart from this, it has gone from being an edition published every four months to an annual journal. But our publication is not the only one to have undergone changes. Over the last ten years Basque translation has progressed in a way that few would have imagined, both in quantity and, above all, in quality. Not too long ago translation was considered synonymous for strange Basque and, at times, even seen as an enemy of Euskara. Those who held that mistaken belief did not stop to think how and in what conditions the task of translating was being carried out: with no school or institution where one could learn techniques of translation, without suitable dictionaries, and without any specific learning method for Basque translation. Fortunately, these years have not been spent in vain and, little by little, we have been able to count on resources and help – in almost all spheres - which we would never have believed possible. For example, translators of literature should feel proud when a writer of the stature of Lertxundi says that translations are among the best Basque literary editions in the past few years. It is undoubtedly in this field that our national literature has progressed the most.

In any case, we should not forget that Basque society (Basque-speaking society, that is) does not yet value sufficiently the function that a translation performs for the linguistic normalisation of the Basque language, as well as - and why not? - of its legislation. Nor the task currently being undertaken -, one which will undoubtedly continue in the future - of the dissemination of the language in all its aspects. In order that translating does not falter along the road, we need more than ever all kinds of infrastructure in order to train new translators well and continue training those already working. The Martutene School, as it happens, had its time as indeed has had the school that was initiated by the Basque Institute of Public Administration. But the need to train new Basque translators is still there as is the necessity to offer to those already working as translators work tools, educational material and ideas for reflection. Without any doubt, our society has become more and more interested in translations: witness to this are the Master degrees organized by the University of the Basque Country and the University of Deusto, the courses put on by the Basque Summer University in Baiona and Iruñea (Pamplona) and many others which both professional and future translators attend. This journal responds fully to these needs.

When it came into being, it had the support of the students and lecturers at Martutene. At first the magazine was made up of reading material and projects undertaken at the college. Later, with the aim of reaching all translators and wishing to respond to new demands, it began to accept extramural contributions, as still happens today. Many of the initial aims have been fulfilled with the passing of the years and, needless to say, its structure and content have varied according to the needs of the moment and the means available.

Unlike the situation outlined in the preface of the first issue, Basque translators are no longer unknown to each other because the journal has enabled us to exchange ideas and to get to know one another. Likewise, SENEZ has enabled us to familiarize ourselves with theories of translation from other places – at times by means of translation itself and, at others, thanks to the publication of material given at translation seminars organized by EIZIE for the Basque University Summer Courses. We wish to continue in this vein but, in order to do so, we undoubtedly need the help of working translators or of those who wish to be so. This journal is not aimed at being one solely for EIZIE members but wishes to be known by all those Basque-speakers who carry out this activity professionally or out of interest.

We recently heard the sad news of the passing away of Antonio María Labaien, dramatist and translator. EIZIE and the editorial committee of SENEZ, wish to dedicate this issue to him as a tribute.