21:36' 06/05/2007 (GMT+7)
ietNamNet Bridge – Unlike “big trees” in the translation profession, young translators translate simply because they love it and want to improve their foreign languages.
Pursuing the dream
Old translators often think translation is a challenging job that requires a deep knowledge of both Vietnamese and cultures. Young translators, however, are more relaxed about the affair.
Born in 1987, Truong Que Chi is known as a very young poetess as well as a translator. During her high-school years, she translated three children’s works from French into Vietnamese.
With simple words, these works didn’t reveal much of Chi’s talents but Chi said they helped her to learn more about another culture and paved the way for a more challenging future.
Several years ago, a novel titled Tam Tan Ky published by Literature Publishing House appeared in bookstores. Few knew that the translator of this impressive novel set was very young: Ho Tien Huan was born in 1980.
n order to be a translator, he has had a very hard time struggling with Chinese. Born in Phan Rang, Ho Tien Huan did not learn Chinese until college. Before college, he had been an outstanding national English student.
As he studied Chinese, he nurtured the dream of being able to translate Chinese literature some day. At first, Ho Tien Huan was content with translating easy “market” books such as those on sex education, and then, Jinyong’s knight-errant novels.
He has also visited China to absorb more of the native culture in order to prepare for the “long marathon” ahead. And so far, Ho Tien Huan has translated 10 knight-errant novel sets as well as novels of other genres.
Names such as Truong Que Chi and Ho Tien Huan reveal a part of the image of a new generation of translators that is constantly fueling its dreams and perfecting itself.
t is undeniable that these young translators love what they do. Translator Nguyen Le Chi, 31, said: “I don’t want to talk about the love of the job since it is undeniable. Without love, one can never pursue this career, defying all difficulties.”
Old translators often consider their job very lonely and austere. This may be right since there are few professional translators who are loyal to their profession. Most support themselves with extra jobs.
Graduating from Hanoi Foreign Trade University, translator Dao Bach Lien, 28, for instance, is currently working for a Japanese company, Yasuda Ware House.
As for Ho Tien Huan, he is still trying to live his translation dream. Yet, now that Vietnam has joined the Bern treaty, it is very difficult for him to buy copyrights, translate and then market books on his own.
“How can you live on translation if you only translate what you like? And royalties aren’t enough to cover those trips to foreign countries to learn about their cultures. That’s why I’m always out of money since I spend all on such trips and translation opportunities,” Huan said.
Nguyen Le Chi is a special case, though. She has 3 bachelors and a master’s degree in international relations. Yet, she is now heading the translation and copyright department at Phuong Nam Culture Company.
Putting degrees aside to pursue her passion, Nguyen Le Chi has proven her ability and been able to live on her royalties, which is not very frequently seen in the translation world.
Young people’s fortes
The Internet is particularly useful in helping @ age translators search for attractive works. A series of works recently translated by Nguyen Le Chi, for instance, also came from the Internet.
Another advantage young translators have over old ones is that most of them have gone through official training in foreign languages. Long gone is the time when translators were patiently and painstakingly engaged in self-studies of foreign languages. As a result, young translators may spend less time translating than older ones.
Dao Bach Lien, for instance, worked on the Tru Tien novel set from the end of 2005 to the beginning of 2007.
In addition, the publishing market is more open to translated works now than before. It is because publishers are sharper and quickly pick up works popular elsewhere to translate and publish them in Vietnam.
Despite advantages, there is something young translators may not be as good at as older ones. Writer Nguyen Ngoc, the founder of the Phan Chu Trinh Translation Fund, said: “Many translators speak foreign languages well but their Vietnamese is terrible.”