As we are finished with the novel Grendel, the next text that we are going to study is a collection of Vietnamese poems written in the period of warfare by a female poet Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ. The translated version along with the original pieces are made into a book called Green Rice. When I first read the introduction without any prior knowledge to the background information of the history of the poem, I didn’t really understand the importance of the poems and the true emotion that they contain. It was until the first class, when we went through a few articles about the detailed content of the Vietnam war that happened between 1955 and 1975, did I start to have a spark of interest on discovering more of what people were experiencing and feeling at that point. Unlike the historical texts, reading poems written by an ordinary citizen is a more effective way of understanding the case as a whole. What I took from that lesson was that Vietnam people really have a strong emotional bond with their country, many of them joined the war simply because they wanted to protect their believes and faith.
With that knowledge in mind, I went back to the introduction again and really appreciated many methods the translator incorporated to make sure the hidden emotional message was well communicated. Taking consideration of the English level of the author, the translator spent a mass amount of time with the author Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ to communicate and get a better understanding of the living habits. Moreover, he worked with local citizen to make sure the cultural elements were taken into consideration, they wrote literary analysis for most of the poems that were translated to make sure that they understood the actual meaning behind it. The translator also mentioned the consideration of rhyme schemes, rhythm, and musicality of the translated text; the author was only able to retain a small portion of that. This connects to the same translation unit that I have been studying in Chinese, where it is really hard to convert texts, especially poems, into a different language while taking account for all the elements. A similarity between Vietnamese and Chinese was the lack of words that clarifies the logical relationship between words and sentences. As written by the translator, that aspects was one of the major problem she faced during the translation process.