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Data: 1995eko urtarrila

Presentation

Translation: Juan Mari Mendizabal

The first piece of news in this issue is already on the front page, and has to do with a change of ownership. The magazine, to date published by the Martutene Translators’ School, will from now on be put out by the Association of Basque Translators, Proofreaders and Interpreters, EIZIE.

This magazine was created by the Martutene Translators’ School four years ago with the aim of becoming a point for reflection and meeting for Basque translators, as was announced in the first issue. Its basic goal has been to make people aware of Basque translation, to improve and reinforce its quality, and to provide the tools that the activity of Basque translation needs in order to consolidate itself. In this sense, the magazine has made efforts since its beginnings to reflect on the world of translation in all fields where translation has a say: translation theory, literary and pragmatic translation, simultaneous translation, translation criticism and history, contrastive linguistics, the translator’s situation and working conditions. It has made efforts to inform about the world of translation with the scarce means it has had at hand.

It has also taken steps towards knowing and accommodating the needs and desires of Basque translators, proofreaders and interpreters. Indeed, one of the basic points of departure of the EIZIE association is to be found in the survey that this magazine carried out. Thus, the EIZIE association was born to fulfil the need that translators, proofreaders and interpreters in the Basque Country have to strengthen their position by being together, and it should be an important advance and a tool for the consolidation of the world of Basque translation.

Amongst the goals put forward by our association in the first General Assembly was “to make efforts so Basque translators can receive training and their proficiency be improved” (Chapter II, art. 7-d). The association can fulfil this mission in different ways: publications, meetings, seminars, etc., and has already started organising some seminars, so that its goals do not remain just words.

The Martutene Translators’ School, seeing that the association was a better environment for this magazine, offered the publishing project to EIZIE, since the goals set out in the first issue are the same as the association’s: “The first goal of this magazine is to be a meeting place for those of us who are interested in this field” and, further on, “Our second goal is to inform about all that can be taken from theories abroad that could be valuable to us”.

EIZIE’s Executive Board accepted the offer, and an editorial team was organised to publish the magazine. The members of the editorial team belong to all fields covered by the association: translators working in the Administration, in the media, literary translators and interpreters. Amongst the decisions taken by the Board, holding to the periodicity of the magazine, making it lighter and periodically publishing papers on specific translation problems are probably the most important.

We wish SENEZ a long life in the new project of which this issue should be the start.

This issue

Translating texts of the big religions all over the world has always been a source of serious problems, and as always this has led to abundant reflection and has had important consequences in the places and times when it has taken place.

The beginnings of written literature in many languages is based on the translation of sacred texts. We know of a few cases: Armenian, Gothic, Russian, Ukrainian, German, Lithuanian, Czech and, partially, the case of Basque. More recently, although seldom mentioned, since the last century some languages were provided an alphabet by missionaries, mostly in Africa and America. These languages are, apart from those having implemented literacy programmes after the October Revolution in the Soviet Union, almost the only languages having achieved the status of written languages.

Moreover, several languages that have been especially influenced by the translation of sacred texts should not be forgotten: Tibetan, Japanese and, to a certain extent, Chinese itself. Moreover, the translating of sacred texts has brought about a great deal of theorisation whenever it has been undertaken, because it demands special respect for the content of the text, and most of the time for the form as well. Indeed, the sacred word bears effect by itself.

Along these lines, a short history of the translations undertaken from a sacred text (the Bible) into Basque is presented in this issue. At the end of this historical review two great translations are highlighted: the one undertaken by an ecumenical group to translate the Bible, and the translation of the New Testament by the Liturgical Commission. These are reviewed in two articles.

Although the present issue of SENEZ focuses on this topic, there is another subject of great relevance for translators: the establishment of translation studies. There is in Spain the intention to change translation studies, and a few proposals have been made. The sources and details of these proposals are dealt with in two articles. Besides these, there are the usual sections in SENEZ: translation reviews information on magazines and books, and short news items.