Translating Khan Academy to Vietnamese

On the way back from Can Tho University
On the way back from Can Tho University

While teaching English to street children, I was also volunteering at Khan Academy as a translator and an advocate (someone who promote and oversee the translation process) for the Vietnamese language. After an eventful adventure of networking, I got to be a “lecturer” for Saigon University for a day in order to attend the first [Written and Speech] Translation Conference hosted by Hoa Sen University. The conference gathered many academics from major cities like Can Tho, Vinh Long, and HCMC.

One presentation was attractive during the conference. An adjunct professor from Can Tho University talked about how she organized a program for students learning translation to go volunteer with their local organizations. It was a perfect coincident because just a month before, with the help of a childhood friend who studied English translation, I went to Can Tho University to connect with students to find some leads. It would be a great synergy to connect these English translation students with Khan Academy volunteer program—they get to validate their skill while helping a great cause.

I and Prof. Truong Van Anh at Hoa Sen University’s Translation Conference
I and Prof. Truong Van Anh at Hoa Sen University’s Translation Conference

I learned of a validation problem for these translation major students when I was following my first lead in HCMC. Through a friend here in the US, I got to know a fellow named Quoc who organize the Youth Translation Foundation. From Quoc, I met professor Truong Van Anh who ultimately invited me to the Translation conference. Quoc also share the difficulty of getting a translation job once students graduate. The accreditation from college was not sufficient as employee feel college doesn’t teach the practical scenerios that practicing translator has to deal with. At the time when I heard this, I was not completely convinced. However his word carry some more weight when I met him and his father at the translation conference. His dad was presenting challenges practicing translators face when they work.