The Little Prince translated into Rarámuri

The Little Prince is considered the second most translated book in history: there are editions in at least 300 different languages

The Little Prince translated into Rarámuri
The Little Prince is considered the second most translated book - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 27/11/2019 18:51 Ibeth Mancinas Mexico City Actualizada 18:55
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“The little crowned boy teaches us how to walk looking with the heart, from our indigenous communities in Chihuahua. A story so short but so big,” says the poet and musician Martín Chávez, Makawi, in the presentation of the literary classic The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated into Rarámuri, the indigenous language of one of the communities of that Mexican state.

He adds that the translation is close to the traditions of indigenous communities, reason why they had to overcome some challenges for its realization, for “in Rarámuri, there is not always a word that reflects the same as in Spanish.”

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This second edition of the text in Rarámuri has illustrations of artist Gustavo Márquez, also from Chihuahua, with characters wearing traditional clothing and landscapes from the mountainous region of the state.

Makawi wants the text to be a tool to observe indigenous languages

Martín Chávez dedicated the edition of Ta’a Mo’koólame (The Little Crowned Boy, according to the literal translation) to poet Enrique Servín, who recently passed away in the city of Chihuahua and who was widely recognized by his continuous work for the conservation and promotion of indigenous languages in Mexico.

Martín Makawi presented the book wearing traditional Tarahumara clothing and talked with the attendees, especially with children, with whom he shared not only the content of the book, but also the importance of preserving indigenous languages through reading and books.

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“It’s very important to preserve indigenous languages so that people understand our tradition, and thanks to my brother Enrique Servín, who rests in peace, this has been possible, but it is a work that remains in the heart, in each of us,” expressed Mawaki to recognize Servín, who would originally present the edition.

The translation of the literary classic is close to the traditions of indigenous towns

“Thanks to master Servín, who woke us to have Rarámuri reading and writing, and to document what is said in our own community; we already have several translations of our history by Carlos Montemayor and Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda so that we all learn,” he explained.

Enrique Servín spent his life defending indigenous languages and, from the head of the Department of Ethnic Cultures and Diversity of the Culture Ministry, implemented actions such as the Reading Nests to preserve and reappraise the four ancestral indigenous languages from Chihuahua: Rarámuri (Tarahumara), Ódami (Tepehuán), O’oba (Pima), and Warijó (Guaijíos), of which there are less than 100,000 members older than five years old in Chihuahua.

The Little Prince is considered the second most translated book in history: there are editions in at least 300 different languages

Makawi finished the presentation of the book explaining that The Little Prince is a story short in extension but enormous in literary worth, the reason why he recognized the relevance of the text being available to all the communities and families in Chihuahua and for it to become a tool for the preservation of indigenous languages.

For her part, Chihuahua’s Culture minister, Concepción Landa García Téllez, informed that until now 31 monolingual books of different topics have been edited, among which stand out fotonovelas, comics, and two editions of The Little Prince, one into Rarámuri and other to Ódami.

Likewise, she explained, addressing the population that does not know how to write nor read, there are audiobooks designed to document the oral tradition through speeches of indigenous governors, talks, etiological narratives, and myths.

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