Blog

English-Vietnamese Translation of American Elections (Continued)

After describing in detail the differences in vocabulary and accent between these two variants in the 1st part, I discuss the relevant political issues and how these affect translation, proofreading, and international certification in the English <-> Vietnamese language pair. To conclude, I propose a variety of solutions to the problems.

[From translation and proofreading issues] ...to certification

The debates about the wording, style, structure, vocabulary, and accent between translators using domestic Vietnamese and overseas Vietnamese in the 1st part have recently become even more salient as professional English <-> Vietnamese translators seek to gain more professional credentials for their résumés (CV) and profile pages or websites. There is no official association in Vietnam responsible for certifying translators and interpreters, and forming one is unfeasible given the hostility of the government towards requests to organize by nonmembers of the communist party. Thus, the only choice for us is to take certification examinations in countries where the Vietnamese language has become common—such as the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. The problem now appears clearly and consistently with what I mentioned in the previous section: reviewers of these tests are overseas Vietnamese translators, and they usually have an implicit anti-communist attitude toward exam submissions, which should be judged only on a linguistic basis. They are naturally not familiar with domestic Vietnamese. As a consequence, domestic Vietnamese translators have almost no chance of passing these exams. The clearest evidence is found when looking closely at the directories of international translation organizations: almost all currently certified English <-> Vietnamese translators live outside Vietnam. Thus, translators living in Vietnam experience the disadvantage of having no official professional association relating to translation/interpreting. They therefore face significant difficulties in showing evidence of their professionalism and ultimately, obtaining certification. This situation also, unintentionally, makes it difficult for young translators who are living in Vietnam to develop their profession more systematically and expand their contacts internationally.

 

Potential solutions

To conclude, this article aims to suggest some solutions, rather than to complain about the problems. First, as mentioned, the best and most practical solution is for translators and reviewers living in nations where overseas Vietnamese language is common to read this article, to be educated about the facts and their possible unintentional misunderstandings so that they can have a more open attitude when reviewing exams or translations by translators who are living in Vietnam and using domestic Vietnamese.

As it remains impractical to suggest establishing a translation association in Vietnam, domestic Vietnamese translators should honestly discuss their familiarity with overseas Vietnamese to clients before beginning a translation job. Furthermore, if they want to practice translating this variant, finding assistance from people who are living in the diaspora and searching for documents written in Vietnamese before 1975 are good options. 

[NOTES]

General Statistics Office of Vietnam: Central Population and Housing Census Steering Committee. June 2010. The 2019 Vietnam Population and Housing Census: Completed Results. https://www.gso.gov.vn/default_en.aspx?tabid=768&ItemID=19282

Results of the Population and Housing Census 01/4/2019. https://vietnam.un.org/en/28931-results-population-and-housing-census-0142019

MLA Language Map Data Center. n.d. MLA Language Map Data Center. Modern Language Association. https://apps.mla.org/map_data

Central Intelligence Agency. n.d. World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html.

François et al. 2002. La dynamique des langues en France au fil du XXe siècle. Population & Sociétés. no. 376. http://www.ined.fr/fichier/t_publication/65/publi_pdf1_pop_et_soc_francais_376.pdf

 

[BIO]

Lan Hoang has worked as a professional freelance translator since 2013. He has a bachelor of arts in English language with a concentration in translation studies from Hue University, Vietnam, and a master of arts in language studies from Yuan Ze University, Taiwan. He is also an active member of ATA, NAJIT, and Proz's pro-certified network for the English<->Vietnamese language pair. He has published academic articles and conference proceedings papers in linguistics, language, and translation studies. He may be reached at hoangbaolan04493@gmail.com.

Relative news

Although Olvera-Lobo et al. (2005) found that the volume of documents needed to be translated for cross-national purposes has multiplied manifold globally, including Vietnam, there is no research on the extent of professionalization of the translator in this market until now. This study thus aims at giving a comprehensive overview on the status of the translation profession in Vietnam by analyzing documentary and empirical data and to indicate the degree of professionalization of this profession in Vietnam. While the findings showed academic attempts to enhance the professionalization of this profession in Vietnam, legal instruments’ analysis indicated the lack of official development evidence, especially in the full-time freelancing type. Via empirical survey and interview data, gaps between university translation degree and the real industry were also pointed out. Implications are then given out for the pedagogical purpose.

After describing in detail the differences in vocabulary and accent between these two variants in the 1st part, I discuss the relevant political issues and how these affect translation, proofreading, and international certification in the English <-> Vietnamese language pair. To conclude, I propose a variety of solutions to the problems.

Although Olvera-Lobo et al. (2005) found that the volume of documents needed to be translated for cross-national purposes has multiplied manifold globally, including Vietnam, there is no research on the extent of professionalization of the translator in this market until now. This study thus aims at giving a comprehensive overview on the status of the translation profession in Vietnam by analyzing documentary and empirical data and to indicate the degree of professionalization of this profession in Vietnam. While the findings showed academic attempts to enhance the professionalization of this profession in Vietnam, legal instruments’ analysis indicated the lack of official development evidence, especially in the full-time freelancing type. Via empirical survey and interview data, gaps between university translation degree and the real industry were also pointed out. Implications are then given out for the pedagogical purpose.

THIS ARTICLE DESCRIBES current issues that arise for the Vietnamese translator stemming from the difference between
Vietnamese as used in Vietnam (which I will call “domestic Vietnamese”) and Vietnamese as used in Vietnamese-speaking
communities in Western nations (which I will call “overseas Vietnamese”). This 1st part describes in detail the differences in vocabulary and accent between these two variants, relevant political issues.