Sometimes, the translations of ancient writings or other pieces of art can give you a clear view into the history of your own country or culture. Popol Vuh is the sacred book of Guatemala’s K’iche people. They were indigenous to the country, and their name literally translates to “many trees.”
The book was originally written in the native language of K’iche, but there is now a translation to Spanish for modern readers. The joint project was a large undertaking, and it combined work by the Secretary of Culture and Arts of the State of Yucatan, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, and the CONACULTA, the Universidad Modelo, the Universidad de los Andes and a Venezuelan book publisher called The Other, The Same.
The Book Records Ancient History of the K’iche People
The book’s Spanish translation will prove valuable for people interested in history, as it will serve as a window into the ancient history of the K’iche people. Since many of the K’iche words used in the translation were not common in a modern context, the translation took an entire year to complete, even with such a large and powerful translation team.
The version of Popol Vuh about to be released is actually a bilingual version, as it also contains a translation into Yucatec Maya. Yucatec Maya is a Mayan language spoken in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Book to Include More than Just Sacred Text
In addition to the Spanish language translation of the sacred Mayan text written in Popol Vuh, the bilingual translation will also feature image captures of the original Mayan notes used in the translation and paintings of the images and characters referenced in the text.
That way, readers will get a full understanding of the ways the K’iche people were communicating to relay the messages. A native Mayan artist was also asked to illustrate thirteen significant engravings also referenced in the text.
To translate the ancient K’iche text, it took a large team of Spanish translators and cultural experts. However, the end result is invaluable, as it provides people all over the world with a new appreciation for a sacred work by the ancient K’iche people. To people from that area, the translation is as significant as the old written journals of Lewis and Clark, or the Native American journals found in the United States. History gives us a new perspective on our own lives.