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Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | Đối với tôi cuộc sống là một vở tuồng hề – Life to me is a comedy (246)

I was born 1971, Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. My family and I were a part of the first exodus of boat people after the Vietnam war. In March 1981, we settled in Sydney, Australia. I graduated with a bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. I have been translating Vietnamese literature for the past five years in my search to better understand my mother’s language and culture. My translations have been shared through blogging over the past year. I am still a registered pharmacist practicing in Western Sydney. I hope to continue translating, and continue to share Vietnamese art and literature, beyond borders on SONGNGUTAITRAM.
(July 2021)

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

Đối với tôi cuộc sống là một vở tuồng hề. Tôi học tiếng mẹ đẻ để kiếm lại thời gian đã mất. Cuối cùng tôi lại lọt vào trách nhiệm dịch thơ và tiểu thuyết. Đây không phải là mong muốn của tôi, vì trách nhiệm không phải là một trò hề.
Như bạn tôi cũng không muốn làm thi sĩ, thơ chỉ là những lời nói cuối cùng giữa đêm. Để thoát chăng? Thoát cái gì, cách nào, tôi không biết.
Tôi chỉ biết dịch chữ của bạn, để lại gia tài này cho con tôi.
Life to me is a comedy. Getting more acquainted with my mother’s tongue was my way of looking for lost time. But instead I’ve stumbled on the responsibility of translating Vietnamese literature. This has never been my intention, since responsibility is not some thing I take lightly, it’s no joke.
Like those of my friends who had no intention of ever becoming a poet, poetry was simply the last word in the middle of the night. An escape? Escape from what, how, I don’t know.
I only know how to translate their words, their words is my will and testament, a will and testament for my children.
March 2022

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

9 replies on “Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | Đối với tôi cuộc sống là một vở tuồng hề – Life to me is a comedy (246)”

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