Source Text Analysis
The text I chose to translate is the final chapter of the ebook Rutas Mágicas (2016) by Toti Martínez de Lezea, which was commissioned by the tourism department of the Eusko Jaurlaritza (Basque Government). The ebook is free to download on the Euskadi turismo website, however the target audience is made up of Spanish speaking tourists and there is no English version of the ebook.
Having gone on Erasmus to the Basque Country, I wanted to do a text related to Basque culture, which I did a module on while studying in the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao. Basque Mythology was not really mentioned in the course and so I thought it would be interesting to explore a text about it as I love Irish myths and legends and was curious to see what Basque Mythology had to offer.
After finding Ruta Magías online, I realised that it would be a very interesting text to translate due it’s unique style. The text explains the myths and legends of the Basque Country in an engaging manner by addressing the reader directly throughout the text and by using short stories about the mythical creatures to explore the mythology of the different regions. This was unlike any other texts I had come across about Basque Folklore and mythology.
I choose to translate the chapter about Lamiak, mythical creatures that are not unlike mermaids, except that they normally have duck feet instead of fishtails. They are portrayed as strong female figures in mythology and I hadn’t heard much about them before this (besides the pub in Bilbao of the same name) and so I decided to translate the Lamiak section.
Upon my first reading of the text I identified that the writing style of the target text is quite unique, in that the writer speaks directly to the reader:
‘Acompánanos al precioso pueblo de Elantxobe’
as if the reader is being brought on a virtual tour around the Basque Country. It’s almost like the author herself is standing in front of us, bringing us along to all the villages from where legends of Lamias originated.
‘¡Vamos para allí, te encantará visitar este tranquilo pueblo y sus alrededores!’
The language is informal and the writer aims to be engaging. Alongside the text there are photographs and illustrations (by artist Juan Luis Landa) of the particular Lamiak and towns to give the reader an image to have in their head of where they ‘are’ throughout the text. If we were to leave out these images it would result is a loss of meaning in the text as they ground and set the text. This possible loss of meaning could result in a less than successful translation.
The structure of each chapter is unusual. Each section in the chapter is made up of little stories about particular legends of the Lamiak and small paragraphs about the towns where the writer encourages us to follow them. The writer links one place or tale to another by instructing the reader to come with them onto the next place. Each town visited has a different legend about a Lamia.
The author of the text assumes a certain knowledge of the geography of the Basque Country and even has some sentences in basque left in the text and so from this it can be gathered that the target audience of the source text (ST) is either Basque or Spanish people from the surrounding regions.
Pragmatic and intercultural problems arise from this assumption of knowledge and so by taking the user profile into account, these problems have to be dealt with to acquire a dynamic equivalence of the ST that the target audience and culture can follow and understand.