Vietnamese poems get English translation
Bridging cultures: Huong Tho Viet (Scent of Vietnamese Poetry) featuring poems by Vietnamese authors.
HA NOI — Vietnamese poetry has been printed in a new bilingual collection titled Huong Tho Viet (Scent of Vietnamese Poetry).
The first collection of its kind includes work by authors from several generations and social trends such as Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Ho Xuan Huong, Tan Da, Han Mac Tu and The Lu.
The collection was translated by Michelle Phuong Thao, an overseas Vietnamese from the US.
Phuong Thao said that the idea of translating Vietnamese poetry came from her desire to introduce and promote the beauty of Vietnamese literature to foreigners.
She also hopes that the collection will raise young people's interest in Vietnamese literature and art.
The collection was presented to Vietnamese students on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Linguistics Faculty of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ha Noi last Friday.
Before translating the poems, Thao read them through many times to explore the poet's ‘voice' and understand the poem's ‘mood', as well as the message the writer wants to convey to the reader, she said, sharing her key to translation with students at the ceremony.
Phuong Thao belongs to the ‘one and a half' generation of the Vietnamese community overseas. Even though she left Viet Nam for the US in 1986 at the age of 14, Michelle has never forgotten her Vietnamese roots.
She has always been interested in the Vietnamese language and influenced by the country's beautiful artworks.
She was taught by several experts of the Vietnamese language and due to this delightful reason, she has developed a profound understanding of the Vietnamese language.
With these advantages, Thao has been translating Vietnamese poetry and literature into English since 2005.
She is now the executive director of the Viet Art Centre, a non-profit organisation in California whose mission is to preserve and promote Vietnamese art and culture abroad.
"I believe that this book is a prelude to many more substantial works of translation in the future by Michelle [Phuong Thao], said Quyen Di, professor of language, literature, and culture of Vietnamese at the University of California, Los Angeles. — VNS