Yaroslav Gúbarev: "Memoirs of a Basque Cow" is a literary discovery for me

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


The young Ukrainian translator Yaroslav Gúbarev told us that translating the work of Bernardo Atxaga ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´ was an interesting experience for him, since it gave him the opportunity to bring Basque literature closer to Ukrainian readers. Thanks to this translation, last week he was awarded the Etxepare-LABORAL Kutxa Prize, which annually awards a translation of a work originally written in Euskera. We asked Gúvarev about his experience translating an author of such renown in the Basque Country, and this is what he has told us.

This is the first time you’ve translated a work by Bernardo Atxaga. What led you to choose it? Were you familiar with his work?

For me it was new. I got to know him thanks to Anetta Antonenko, director of the publishing house that published ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´. She showed me the work and when I read a few pages I felt inspired to translate it.

How was the process of translating ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´?

When translating the work, I tried to preserve the author’s style and writing, and the language of his characters. I included comments if it was necessary to clarify some words or phrases. It was an enjoyable process because I loved the story: ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´ was a literary discovery for me.

Atxaga is one of the most renowned writers in Basque literary history. Were you in touch with him during the translation process?

I had no direct relationship with the author but I did read several articles on Bernardo Atxaga and ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´ to better understand the work. This helped me in the translation process.

What does the recognition of this prize mean to you?

For me it is very important. In my translation career it means a lot. It also means that Basque literature will be promoted in the Ukraine. It is great that Ukrainians have the chance to read a Basque author of such renown as Bernardo Atxaga. And it is perfect to start that experience with ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´.

Next month a second edition of your translation will be published. How was the book received in the Ukraine?

The book already has its fans. I have read many positive comments from Ukrainian readers about ´Memoirs of a Basque Cow´. I think it will be a success in the Ukraine.

Where does Basque literature stand in the Ukraine?

Ukrainians still do not know much about Basque literature because there are few translations. We need to promote more Basque literature. The translation of "Memoirs of a Basque Cow" and its publication by Anetta Antonenko Publishers are very important events.

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