Writers and translators from Viet Nam and Russia are working together to set up a fund to enhance bilateral co-operation in the two skills. Vice director of the fund Nguyen Thuy Anh speaks with Minh Thu
about their goals and aspirations.
Inner Sanctum: What will the Vietnamese-Russian Literature Fund mean for writers and translators in the two countries?
People working in the field of literature are always discussing problems connected with translation and the publishing of foreign books in Viet Nam.
The fund's foundation is good for Vietnamese translators and readers. When we announced the fund's establishment, we received many responses from translators in this country and abroad. They gave us many suggestions that made us very excited.
A fund to popularise Russian literature in Viet Nam was founded in 2010 by the then president Medvedev. Our fund will work closely together with the president's fund to enhance relations between the two countries in the field of literature.
We will co-operate with Russian colleagues to buy book copyrights, and translate and publish Vietnamese books in Russia and Russian books in Viet Nam.
Most importantly, the fund will be used to train young translators. When we have a good team of translators, we will organise industry seminars.
Inner Sanctum: Some Vietnamese novels by Ma Van Khang and Khai Hung, as well as a number of 20th century short stories are to be translated into Russian and released in Russia using money from the fund. What criteria did you use when selecting works to be translated?
Artistic merit is the most import consideration. At the first meeting of the translators after the fund was founded, we announced that we planned to translate the above-mentioned books. The first books to be named were suggested by the State, translators and authors and a number of publishing houses in Russia.
We have established a supervisory board that includes veteran translator Doan Tu Huyen, who has worked for many years with Russian-Vietnamese literature, to help us select good books to translate.
The selection of literary works to translate should be considered carefully and professionally, and should not only based on translators' and writers' wishes.
The fund's steering board will build up a list of particular criteria to select books to translate to meet readers' demands.
Inner Sanctum: What can Vietnamese readers expect from the fund?
We have selected to translate both Russian classics and modern literary works such as the selected works by Dostoevsky and sea stories by Konstantin Stanyukovich.
Both classic and modern works will be introduced to Vietnamese readers. It should be borne in mind that the older generation are more familiar with the Russian language and culture from their school years, whereas younger generations now learn English.
We will select well-qualified literary works and popularise them widely to attract Vietnamese readers of different ages to Russian literature.
Inner Sanctum: Our best translators of Vietnamese-Russian literature such as Thuy Toan and Doan Tu Huyen are now quite old. Are you concerned about the next generation of translators?
It is of course necessary to find and professionally train young translators for future generations of readers.
It is vital that translators study abroad. Beside the qualifications they may attain, they will also enrich their knowledge of the country's culture.
Inner Sanctum: You are a young translator and also vice director of the fund. What do you think you will be able to bring to the fund?
My strongest point is probably my youth. Youth means enthusiasm, keenness, health and a desire to do many things. However, because of my youth, I don't have the experience of older translators.
I love poetry and writing verse so I think that's another advantage – I can translate poetry and lyrical prose. That said critical essays and serious prose are not my strong points.
Nowadays, young translators like me face many problems, such as earning a living, striving for a career, among other things.
As I said before, among the goals of the fund is to train young translators. Hopefully, they will be able to relate to my youth. — VNS