Before translating it was important to read the entire text to get a sense of the content and the language and register used, in order to remain faithful to the original author’s style of writing. I then set about back translating the first few pages using online translators to help. Spanish words and verbs can often have various meanings depending on context, and so for any words that I didn’t understand, I used different websites (spanishdict, linguee, word reference) to ensure that I had the correct words for the context and meaning.
The piece contains elements of all three text types. Operative, informative and expressive with expressive being the dominant type. The source text is a creative composition that uses expressive language to tell the stories and legends of the Lamiak while still passing on information and facts about both the Basque Country and the creatures. The operative function can also be seen in the author’s desire for the reader to have a curious response to the text. They want the reader to ‘come along’ with them on a the tour of the Basque villages. It is important that the translated target text would have the same functions.
Myths and folklore are typical examples of oral literature and aspects of oral tradition are evident in the mini tales about the various Lamiak. Due to the stories being originally orally transmitted, once translated into English they are very short and ‘to the point’. There is no sense of anticipation or climax created whereas the average Irish reader may be more used to the format and style of written stories. The short stories begin very descriptive, describing the scene. This would be normal of somebody telling a story orally, as it creates a particular atmosphere for the listeners. However the actual action in the stories is very brief and it ends quite abruptly at times. One example of this is in the tale of ‘La Lamia enamorada’ which I translated to ‘The Beloved Lamia’. The author sets the scene in the traditional way of spoken tales.
‘A pastor went up the mountain with his flock and heard such beautiful singing, [….] Upon separating some bushes, he saw something that left him speechless. Sitting on a boulder embedded in the middle of a river, was a girl more beautiful that anyone he had ever laid eyes on. She had long blonde hair, eyes the colour of water and she was combing her hair while singing a strange melody’. (pg. 75)
This beautifully descriptive opening is then followed by a very short and concise ‘action’.
‘He fell immediately in love and asked her to marry him. She accepted.’
This may seem odd to the reader not acquainted with oral literature. The Shepherd doesn’t have to win her over by making any grand gesture, it is as simple as ‘she accepted’. Instead of changing the author’s style of writing, I decided to leave this as it was, a piece of oral literature. In this aspect I think it important to stay faithful to the original text conventions. Although it may sound unusual to the target user the stories still make perfect sense in English so the target audience will have no problems understanding.