Monday, 07 March 2011 06:16

Not Just in English

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Not Just In English

For many years people have asked us, why don’t we do a print edition of The Word 100 percent in Vietnamese? In response we have cited a myriad of reasons to keep our publication as it is — there is a growing English language market in this country; our city is going the way of Singapore, with English becoming a viable second language; publishing in English gives us access to a niche, well-educated readership with spending power. Not to mention that our senior editor is from the UK.

But now look through this month’s print issue and you will see that we have taken a bold plunge. So bold in fact that that from an editorial perspective this short, 28-day month has been the toughest we have known in years. But why?

New Saigon 

The answer is surprisingly straightforward. This city has changed and we naturally are changing with it. 

From the new landmarks and suburbs to an increasingly multi-cultural, urbane and sophisticated population, the transformation has embraced not just the physical but the people themselves. While remaining true to their Vietnamese roots, the citizens of this metropolis have become more creative, better travelled, more openminded and more cultivated. 

As a city publication, it is to you, all citizens of this cosmopolitan city, that we are now trying to dedicate ourselves.

A Drawn Out Process

And yet achieving this goal and translating articles from one language to another is fraught with problems. Writing styles are different and while in one language a word or sentence may be neutral or positive, in the other it is laden with negativity. Then there is the structure, method, perspectives and technique. Vietnamese readers of this month’s issue will see it for themselves — while we have certainly not done our translations word for word, they are true to the original article. 

This is something we have already had practice with in our series of pieces, The World According to Me. Written initially in Vietnamese and then given an English language makeover, the voice may be slightly alien to the native English speaker, but it is both valid and astute. It opens the reader up to the Vietnamese perspective on the world, a different way of seeing things. 

If we can continue to achieve this perspective and find angles that fit in with the new Word, then we believe our present transformation will be a success. And it is only with your support that we can make the leap. And for all the support you have given us so far, a huge, extended thanks. We appreciate it.

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