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  1. #1
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              Ethnicity:   Vietnamese
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    Needing help translating my grandpa's poetry

    Hello everyone! I joined this forum seeking help with translating one of my grandpa's poem. He was a really good poet, though his poems only circulate around the poetry club he was in while he was alive. I was able to translate it word for word, but it just doesn't flow as well as it would if it were to e read in Vietnamese. The hardest part for me is translating the metaphors and cultural references. Any help is greatly appreciated!




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  2. #2
    Baby Cyber

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              Ethnicity:   Vietnamese
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  3. #3
    keep posted.. i will try a shitty attempt at translating in the next day or two...

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  4. #4
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    @tvu5007

    You did not identify your location, so I don't know whether you're in Vietnam or US. Anyway, I used to do some small, very small free-lance translation work in my free time some time back, to get some extra pocket money. You need someone experienced in two cultures, as well as an affinity for both languages of concern, to do this kind of translation properly. Like a Vietnamese who has lived in US, Canada or UK for a few years, or conversely an English-speaking Westerner who has lived in Vietnam for a few years & can speak & write Vietnamese fluently.

    If you're willing to pay, you can call up the US, Canadian or British embassy in Hanoi & request the name of an experienced translator. Normally they wud hv at least one or two names, becos they also wud occasionally need the service. Another option wud be the language faculty of a local university in or near your place. If you use a dedicated translation agency, the price wud likely be higher, and you still might not get the best quality you want.

    But if you don't want to pay, then the only way to get one is through friends or other personal contacts, I guess.

    BTW, you cud also try seeking out that poetry club that your grandpa was once a member of. Who knows, you might just get someone there to help do the thing for you. Perhaps even for free, if you're lucky.
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  5. #5
    Baby Cyber

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    @Dreamhunter

    Thank you for the ideas! I am located in the United States. I was born in Vietnam but left while I was in 2nd grade...so, my Vietnamese is quite elementary. I can summarize each stanza into basic english but it's the metaphor that stumps me. I'm not sure if it's translatable culturally. I've been trying to work on this project for a bit of time, I got 4 or 5 of his poems from the poetry club book, this one was the shortest and was most relatable to him at the last phase of his life.

    I have to qualm with paying professionals to translate this, but I was looking to bounce some thoughts around. I do think these metaphors translate differently from person to person.

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  6. #6
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    ^
    Yes, they wud. Like, you can't really say 'white as snow' in translating an English poem into a local-context Vietnamese poem, becos you don't hv snow in Vietnam. So, you'd hv to say something like 'white as cotton', 'white as a cloud', or something of that order. So, unless you can do it yourself, you'd hv to pick from among the offers you get.

    It's not easy, the cultural part. I see appalling Malay subtitling of English movies all the time, becos the dudes doing them never even once lived in the West.

    In your case, then maybe you can try the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington as one way to source for a good, experienced translator.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvu5007 View Post
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    Hello everyone! Any help is greatly appreciated!
    OMG my dream just came true but it would be funnier if you would not know a word
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