Main characteristics of Basque
From a linguistic point of view, Basque shares certain features with Spanish, such as the vowel and consonant systems. That is, the alphabet is the same as that of Spanish.
A peculiarity of this language is that there is only one verbal voice and the subject of the actions is patient. In addition, it stands out for its marked tonality and melody in all the speeches pronounced by its speakers, almost as if they were singing.
Both Basque and Galician are co-official languages of Spain and are spoken in the northern part of the national territory. However, they should not be confused as the same language.
On the one hand, Basque is spoken in Navarre, the Basque Country and southeastern France. On the other hand, Galician is spoken in Galicia, in the Principality of Asturias and in the northeast of Castile and Leon.
Basque not only has an enigmatic origin, but it is also a language that has changed in order to survive. That’s right; Basque has been adapting to the different languages that coexisted with it in order not to disappear.
In fact, if we take a closer look at the Basque translations, there will be some words that we will easily recognize. We are talking about words like agur, aquelarre, órdago or pacharán. All of them are included in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy as words that make up the Spanish language.
This does not mean that the translating Basque is going to be a cakewalk for translators. Why is that? Because Basque has been recognized as one of the most difficult languages to learn.
This small problem aside, we wonder what it is like to translate a language of myths and legends. The Basque Country has always been known for being a place full of fantastic stories such as that of the Goddess Mari. As early as 1870, a few legends were translated, such as that of Aitor: Cantabrian legend, translated by Arturo Campión.
However, the idea of making Basque translations to another language was almost inconceivable until the end of the 20th century.
Perhaps for political reasons, such as the association of the Basque language with Basque nationalism, or for marketing reasons. What we do know is that neither the authors nor the publishers had any interest in publishing Basque translations.
The situation is now quite different because there are not only translations from Basque but also into Basque. So much so that great sagas such as Harry Potter have already been translated into Basque.
We could not expect anything less from a language in which there are about 100 ways of saying butterfly, eskerrik asko euskara.