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Translator Interview with Thanh Nguyen

We hope you enjoyed our first post for this series, where we interviewed Joshua Pachner from Prague, Czech Republic.

The young and dynamic team at Translate By Humans is always looking for new experiences and engaging conversation. This interview series fits in well with our collective goal of travelling the world and interacting with new people! Join us as we virtually experience a new country, language, and culture through our translators every month.

Today’s post features the ever-friendly Thanh Nguyen from Hanoi, Vietnam. Let’s get started!

Translator Infographic Thanh Nguyen

1:Hello Thanh, we are so glad you could be a part of this interview. Please tell us about yourself and the place you call home.

  Thanh:

Hello, I am glad too! I am Vietnamese and based in the capital city of Hanoi in Vietnam. I am a digital marketing expert and an English to Vietnamese translator. When I can, I love to travel. I’ve been to many places in Vietnam. I’ve also been to the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and China.

TBH

Wonderful, travelling is so very rewarding. Please tell us more about Hanoi.

Bikes in Vietnam

  Thanh:

Hanoi is located in northern Vietnam in the Red river’s delta. We have four well defined seasons, including summer, spring, autumn, and winter. The people here are very friendly and helpful, and the city has a lot of famous attractions for you to discover.

2:How and why did you become a translator? Please tell us about your educational background and experience.

  Thanh:

I started learning English in the 6th grade. I’ve always loved languages so of course, my major in college was Translation. I graduated in 2009 with a BA in English Translation and Interpretation from the University of Languages and International Studies (HULIS), Vietnam National University. I have been working as a translator for about eight years now.

TBH

That’s very interesting – could you tell us more about your course?

  Thanh:

It was a holistic course because, during the first two years, we were taught various communication and soft skills. In the 3rd and 4th years, we were exposed to translation theory, different industries and various cultures around the world.

3:What would you have done differently at the start of your career if you knew then, what you know now?

  Thanh:

I would like to be a successful interpreter, not just a translator.  I suppose, in the beginning, I should have focused more on interpreting. I also think it’s important to read books to translate better and sound more natural.

Translator Interview Vietnamese Interpretation

4:What are the benefits of being multilingual?

  Thanh:

Vietnam now has a good relationship with many countries. Being multilingual helps me in my translation career and daily life as I can communicate with people all around the world.

5:Could you walk us through a normal day in your life?

  Thanh:

Sure, besides translation, I  work as a digital marketing manager in a company. I work there full-time during the day, then become a freelance translator at night.

TBH

That must be quite overwhelming at times!

  Thanh:

Sometimes, but now that I’ve been in the translation industry for a while, I receive enough projects to be able to choose the ones that interest me the most.

Vietnamese Food

6:What’s the best advice you ever received?

  Thanh:

Focus on what you can do well, that others cannot.

TBH

Absolutely, it’s as simple as that.

7:What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

  Thanh:

Time is precious. Sometimes, I get several big projects at the same time, and I have to manage my time to finish all those files by the deadline. That is usually my biggest challenge in terms of work. Prioritising my tasks and staying disciplined has helped.

8:Who are your biggest influences and why?

  Thanh:

My parents, most definitely. They are hard-working farmers. Their work is much harder than mine, but they still work every day.

Translator Interview Motivation

TBH

Your parents seem like very inspirational people. Did you grow up on a farm?

  Thanh:

Yes, I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Hanoi. Later, I moved to the city with my sister for higher education and work. Farming is difficult and because of age, my parents have had to slow down a little. They raise cattle for milk and grow cereal and rice.

9:What surprising lessons have you learned along the way, as a translator?

  Thanh:

At first, I thought the language industry is simply translation. Then, I came to know that there are several other important services in the language industry – editing,  proofreading, DTP, QA, LSO, back translation, post-editing translation, etc.

10:We would love to learn a few phrases in your language. Could you please teach us?

  Thanh:

Of course – Xin chào: Hello; Cảm ơn: Thank you;  Tạm biệt: Goodbye

Hello in Vietnamese

TBH

In that case, cảm ơn!

11:How do you want to be remembered?

  Thanh:

As a successful translator and digital marketing expert.

12:What has been the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?

  Thanh:

The most interesting one would be a healthcare project that I worked on. It was very helpful because after translating the documents, I became more knowledgeable about health and medical issues. I also find transcreation projects very interesting.

Transcreation Projects

13:Could you tell us about a funny translation incident that you’ve come across?

  Thanh:

I recently completed a project where I needed to translate typical things that teenagers say, from Vietnamese to English. It was hilarious but also quite challenging because it is difficult to correctly translate certain expressions while keeping the emotion intact.

TBH

Most of our team is multilingual and we know exactly what you mean. Some expressions just don’t sound the same if they are translated from one language to another. In a way, that’s the depth of each language!

14:Please describe your journey with TBH. What has been the most rewarding part of working with us?

  Thanh:

I started working as a translator for TBH in October 2012. It was a very interesting and impressive start. Initially,  a project manager contacted me for five words to translate from English to Vietnamese, and I got the payment right away. I’m still not sure how TBH found me – perhaps I am very famous in the industry (laughs).

Translate By Humans Project Managers

TBH

Thank you, we’re glad you’ve had a good experience with us. We’ve enjoyed working with you and hope for a long and fruitful collaboration.

15:This brings us to our last question. What advice would you give to an aspiring translator?

  Thanh:

Stay hungry, stay foolish. Never stopping learning, especially in the translation industry. You can always learn more terms and tools and develop other soft skills.

TBH

With your zeal for learning, we’re sure you will go a long way. Thank you once again for being a part of this interview. We wish you all the best!

  Thanh:

Thank you, team TBH, for this wonderful initiative!

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