This week’s episode is about translation into and out of Basque, a language that’s quite literally unique. A so-called linguistic “isolate”, Basque it’s not related to any other known language, living or dead.

This makes it a thing of contrasts. In Spain it has the status of a co-official language, but it’s also an endangered one, spoken by perhaps fewer than a million people. A language of great antiquity, it’s also very new in that systematic efforts to expand and codify its use did not get under way until the 1960s. 

In this episode Katarzyna Sosnowska (STL) spoke in English to two translators from the Basque Country who are members of EIZIE (Association of Translators, Correctors and Interpreters of the Basque Language):

Arantzazu Royo Manterola is a translator from Arabic into Basque. A member of the EIZIE staff, Aran has organized workshops for international translators from Basque. Her translations include a trilogy by Mohammed Chukri and a novel by Alaa Al-Aswany (co-translated with Xabier Olarra), which won the 2012 Euskadi Translation Prize. 

Danele Sarriugarte Mochales is a translator of English and a writer. Her two novels are „Erraiak” (2012) and „Azala erre” (2018). Her translations into Basque include books by Angela Davis, David Foster Wallace and Audre Lorde. She also writes for the Basque literary website Hitzen Uberan and other publications, and runs writing workshops. 

Katarzyna Sosnowska has taken part in the Itzultzaile Berriak (New Translators) project run as part of the Donostia/San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture programme. Her first translation from Basque is the novel „Samotny mężczyzna” by Bernardo Atxaga, published by Książkowe Klimaty. The interview was conducted on 30 December 2019 in the STL office in Warsaw.