|New readership: Translator Vasili Popov is one of two people who translated the Tale of Kieu into Russian, aiming to promote the prominent author Nguyen Du's work in Russia. — Photo Vietnam Pictorial
HA NOI (VNS) — The bilingual Vietnamese-Russian edition of Truyen Kieu (The Tale of Kieu), an 18th century poetic masterpiece by Nguyen Du, was released on Thursday in Ha Noi.
It's the work of translators Vu The Khoi and Vasili Popov, and it received support from the Russian Culture and Science Centre and the Viet Nam Writers' Association.
Khoi studied in Russia and has a strong sentiment for the country. He said he felt that the Russian language is a part of him.
He started the work in 2003. That year, he had the chance to visit poet Nguyen Du's homeland in the central province of Ha Tinh. He said in front of his tomb that he would translate Truyen Kieu into Russian.
Previously, several translations of Truyen Kieu had been done, but only excerpts rather than the whole work.
"The book has been translated into 20 languages, but not in Russian," Khoi said. "As I love Russia so much, I committed myself to introduce the great work to Russian readers."
At the launching ceremony, Russian Charge d'Affaire in Viet Nam Vadim V Bublikov thanked the translation group for its efforts on the edition and hailed the translated version's quality.
He expressed his hope that the bilingual edition will further Russian people's understanding about Vietnamese classic literature, while serving as a valuable resource for students and lecturers of Vietnamese studies.
Translator Thuy Toan, director of the Vietnam-Russia Literature Fund, said the translated edition precisely conveys the meaning and spirit of the classic novel. He expressed hopes that the bilingual book will bring Viet Nam's outstanding culture closer to Russian friends.
"Translators under the fund have worked hard, but they mostly translated Russian literature into Vietnamese," he said.
"Until now, Hon Buom Mo Tien (Heart of a Butterfly in a Dream of Immortality) by Khai Hung was the only book translated into Russian."
One thousand bilingual books have been published so far. Each book contains 20 illustrations drawn by famous Vietnamese painters such as Nguyen Do Cung, Tran Van Can, Bui Xuan Phai and Ta Thuc Binh.
Prominent Vietnamese poet and World Cultural Celebrity Nguyen Du was born on January 3, 1766.
His most outstanding work is regarded as the Tale of Kieu, a 3,254-line classic verse poem written in luc bat, a form that consists of alternating lines of six and eight syllables, a traditional verse form in Vietnamese poetry.
It recounts the life, trials and tribulations of Thuy Kieu, a beautiful and talented young woman, who had to sacrifice herself to save her father and younger brother from prison. She sold herself into marriage with a middle-aged man, unaware of his profession as a pimp. He later forced her into prostitution, marking the start of a series of tragic events in her life.
Throughout the poem, the author depicted the beauty of true love and loyalty, and the unyielding hope for justice.
In Viet Nam, the Tale of Kieu is vastly popular, with many people knowing the epic by heart, and it has been published in more than 20 languages worldwide to date. — VNS