I started the translations of NVT’s work a few years back, introduced to me by a very kind recluse – in the desire to expand my Vietnamese vocabulary. Ignorance is bliss since NVT’s writing is not for the faint-hearted. Even in NVT’s regular conversational posts on social media, I found it impossible to understand.
I’ve never been afraid of openly displaying my mistakes, I believe “to err is to be human”. If a barely third-grade greying middle age student like me can still learn – there’s hope for many. But often I’m on the verge of tears (metaphorically- witnessing me crying is an ocular trauma). My daughter had refused to read one of the shortest pieces, simply because of the excessive and unnecessary use of ellipses.
Here I am, re-editing my earlier translation of NVT’s short stories; most are an average three-minute read. There is no eloquent way to express the quality of those translations except – they were crap.
To err is to be human, but the pain is always a tear-jerker.
May 1st 2019
Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.