Translation and Meanings

The Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera is an interesting novel that encapsulates the journey of the main character, Makina. It’s an interesting tale with a strong female and foreign character that is the vessel that exists for the reader to travel with. The book itself seems chock full of things that may or may not have an underlying feeling. From the way a lot of the characters seem to be named after letters but changed to look different, there seems to be some things that are hard to analyze.

I enjoyed how Herrera seemed present the main character in a mature way and we really understood how she felt about certain things, the wording being used in a very concise and descriptive manner. However, this brings up the question as to if it was this way in the original translation or if the translator had to add things in order to either make the story flow a bit better or so that we could get into the world of the story a bit more easier. What cultural language-use was omitted and what was added in so that is more accessible to the English audience. In fact, I would wonder how that related to any of the other underlying meanings like the use of naming some characters after letters of the alphabet. Was it intended in the same way? Was it changed because of some translation issues? It brings up certain questions about whether translations can give the same experience to the story as the author originally intended.

Translations are frequent throughout many mediums and often times they are necessary for the exchange of culture but does that mean that they always come across as originally intended with the author’s original meanings? I guess that’s the fundamental question about whether translations work well most of the time or miss the mark sometimes.

– Bhavin Bhavsar

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