Yaroslav Gúbarev wins the Etxepare-LABORAL kutxa Translation Prize

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Ukrainian teacher and translator Yaroslav Gúbarev (Donetsk, 1991) was awarded the Etxepare-LABORAL Kutxa Translation Prize for his translation of the novella ‘Memoirs of a Basque Cow’ by Bernardo Atxaga into Ukrainian. 

Ukrainian teacher and translator Yaroslav Gúbarev (Pyratyn, 1991) was awarded the Etxepare-LABORAL Kutxa Translation Prize for his translation of the novella ‘Memoirs of a Basque Cow’ by Bernardo Atxaga into Ukrainian. The jury praised both the quality of the translation and the publisher’s efforts in promoting the work, underscoring Gúbarev’s rich lexicon, ingenious and elegant literary devices used to tell the story of the protagonist and the translator’s ability to capture the humour of the original. The jury also said that all four translations presented were of high quality but that the difference lay in the job of promoting the work, with particular importance on promotional efforts outside the Basque Country.

For the first time, the award-winning work was not a direct translation from the Basque. As the jury pointed out, this reflects reality, and while direct translation is a priority, often times literature in Basque finds it way to new markets though ‘bridge languages’.

This year’s jury was composed of the following experts: Inaxio Garro, department of Euskara for LABORAL Kutxa; Irene Larraza, director for the Promotion and Dissemination of Euskera of the Extepare Basque Institute; Nami Kaneko, translator and winner of last year’s edition; Xabi Paya, translator and cultural manager, and Elizabete Manterola, translator and member of the Association of Translators, Correctors and Interpreters of Basque Language (EIZIE).

An opportunity to discover Basque literature

Gúbarev was delighted with the news. “Translating Atxaga’s book was a new and exciting experience, and it gave me the chance to better understand the literature, history and culture of the Basque Country,” he said, adding that as soon as the book was published, it had “a lot of followers.” Gúbarev teaches at the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Donetsk National University. His other translations include ‘El invierno de Gunter’ by Paraguayan author Juan Manuel Marcos and ‘A hora da Estrela’ by Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector.

Anetta Antonenko, director of Anetta Antonenko Publishers, was honoured to receive the award. “I’ve always been interested in quality literature,” she said. “My job is to find good writers and publish their work in Ukranian. I’m proud to publish ‘Memorias de una vaca’. The Ukranians will now be able to read Atxaga and gain a better understanding of the rich Basque culture”, she added. Her publishing house specialises in contemporary literature from the Ukraine and other countries. In addition to work by well-known philosophers and political scientists, her catalogue also includes books by such authors as Octavio Paz, Julio Cortázar and Isabel Allende.

Gúbarev and Antonenko will share the cash prize of 4,000 euros, and will be awarded an additional 2,000 euros to continue promoting the book in the Ukraine.

Bernado Atxaga, the author of the original work, said that “it’s wonderful to be able to reach new audiences through this translation.” This is the first time any of his work has been translated into Ukrainian. “I’ve always heard news from places where my books are read. Now I’ll be looking forward to hearing from a reader from the Ukraine,” he said.

Etxepare – LABORAL Kutxa Saria

Miren Arzalluz, director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, said that “promoting translations is strategic for creating bridges between Basque literature and other countries”. In 2015 Etxepare and LABORAL Kutxa created this award to recognise the translation of a work written and published originally in Basque for the purpose of disseminating Basque publications abroad. In the first edition, the prize went to Isaac Xubín for his Galician translation of a book of poems by Joseba Sarrionandia titled ‘Tempo de exilio’ (Editorial Kalakandra). Last year the award went to Nami Kaneko for her Japanese translation of Kirmen Uribe’s ‘Mussche’ (Editorial Hakusuisha).

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