Lost in Translation. This is a constant danger when working across languages and cultures and is why good interpreters are essential to the success of our training efforts. 

This summer’s program requires more interpreters than we have ever had before because of the interactive nature of our Level 3 program. When I emailed Thuy several months ago to tell her that we needed up to 12 interpreters on some training days, her response of “my god” said it all. 

It is difficult to find good interpreters…in Vietnam, it’s not a lack of people who speak English, but rather, the challenge is finding English speakers who also understand the technical terms that comprise the fields of deaf education and audiology.

And so, when I arrived in Vietnam last week, the first task just hours off the plane, was to join up with Thuy and conduct interviews with university students in hopes to find some candidates to supplement our pool of seasoned interpreters. Specifically, Thuy and I were looking for English speaking talent to serve in small group discussions and in conversations between our professionals and families throughout the four weeks of our training program this summer.

It was Thuy’s idea to target university students – and a great one at that. She proposed the idea to the faculty at a university in Ho Chi Minh City of providing credit hours to students in exchange for their donation of time and interpretation skills to our cause. It took a few months of planning and negotiating, but we finally got to the end result we were hoping for.

Thuy and I set up shop at a hotel meeting room and carried out interviews with potential candidates. Three hours later, our mission was accomplished. We had our contingent of English-speaking students that would serve our needs.

This morning at 7 am, these students pulled up in a university bus to Thuan An Center bright-eyed and excited along with their professors. 
We spent a half day with them, practicing interpreting, discussing audiology and deaf education concepts, and reviewing technical terms they will need to know in both languages. I was taken by how attentive and responsive they were for the entire session. This is a great crew of 20-somethings with smarts and solid English acumen. We’re looking forward to getting the program started on July 9 with their support and energy. 

Until then, nói chuyện với bạn sau này. Huh? you ask? I mean, talk to you soon.