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Czech-Vietnamese encyclopaedia wins Czech literature award

Update: November, 12/2019 - 15:16


Vietnamese engineer Nguyễn Quyết Tiến received the 2019 award for literature by the Czech Writers’ Association in Prague. — Photo

PRAGUE — The six-volume Czech-Vietnamese encyclopaedia was among eight works honoured at the 2019 award for literature by the Czech Writers’ Association in Prague on November 9 in recognition for its significance to the country’s literature and culture.

The 120,000-word bilingual encyclopaedia, co-authored by late Czech linguistic professor Ivo Vasiljev and Vietnamese engineer Nguyễn Quyết Tiến, was completed over 12 years. 

Speaking at the event, Tiến said it was the honour to receive the award. It is a motivation and great reward for the authors’ tireless efforts to bridge the gap between Vietnamese and Czech, contributing to the development of the long-standing friendship between the two countries, he said.

Chairman of the Czech Writers’ Association Karel Sys said the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic plays an important role in enhancing the understanding of the two countries’ cultures and fostering bilateral relations. The encyclopedia is also significant as it acts as a bridge for the two cultures and peoples, he added.

The complete collection of the Czech-Vietnamese encyclopedia was launched in the Czech Republic in July. It aims to serve Vietnamese expats and Czech people who want to learn Vietnamese. Considered a bilingual encyclopaedia, it covers a wide range of subjects, including society, culture, history, biography and geography.

In May 2016, the project won second prize of the Dictionary of the Year award by the Union of Interpreters and Translators of the Czech Republic despite only three volumes having been released at the time.

Vasiljev died on October 23, 2016 at the age of 81 when he just started to write the fifth volume.

He interpreted for President Hồ Chí Minh when a Czechoslovakian delegation visited Việt Nam in 1966. He was the first Czech to translate President Hồ Chí Minh’s Nhật Ký Trong Tù (Diary in Prison) into Czech and also researched Vietnamese ancient heritage and old scripts.

After Vasiljev died, Nguyễn Quyết Tiến said that he was still determined to complete the six-volume encyclopedia as his late fellow’s will. — VNS

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