Update: Nguyễn Trãi’s “Bình Ngô Đại Cáo”

Not too long ago, I told you readers that I was going to translate the poem “Bình Ngô Đại Cáo” by Nguyễn Trãi from Vietnamese into English.  This project, to my surprise, is much harder than anticipated.  The poetic style of Nguyễn Trãi’s writing, combined with the complexity of the metaphors and wordplay in the Vietnamese language, is quite a challenge to translate fluently.  Though I speak both Vietnamese and English, it is still a tough task to convert one language to the other while still maintaining the same poetic integrity of the original.  As of this time, with the help of an excellent advisor, I have succeeded in translating about half of the poem.  If one wanted a realistic timeframe for when the poem will be completed, my best guess would be two weeks from now.  For anyone who is really waiting on this poem: don’t worry, it will be worth the wait.

One Response to “Update: Nguyễn Trãi’s “Bình Ngô Đại Cáo””

  1. I’ve just discovered your blog. Thank you for writing the truths about Hồ (Vietnamese call him the Cunning Fox because his Name in Vietnamese means fox or a thousand-year-old-fox-transforming-into-human being) . My late father, who was a Ho’s follower for a few years when Ho lead the Viet Minh fighting the war against the French . He and many others deserted Viet Minh after they found out that Ho was a communist in disguise. He told us a story about Ho’s deceptive character: in Ho’s 4 pocket tunic, he carried Craven A cigarettes and Cẩm lệ (a cheap local brand), the Craven A for himself, the cheap one for others. When Hồ took shelter at common people houses, despite his position as leader, always endear himself to everyone, including the housewives by helping them with their mundane cooking chores.

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