Vietnamese publishing houses release bilingual books for readers abroad

Recently, many domestic publishing houses have decided to publish books in bilingual Vietnamese - English, with many genres such as picture books, literature books, and skill books which are for those who can read English and for overseas sale.
Writer Truong Huynh Nhu Tran at the book launch of 'Stories in the Vi Vu Forest'

Writer Truong Huynh Nhu Tran at the book launch of 'Stories in the Vi Vu Forest'

Following the successful independent publishing of a series of 10-volume picture books Chuyen o rung Vi Vu ( Stories in the Vi Vu Forest ), writer Truong Huynh Nhu Tran has just developed into a long story of the same name. In addition to the change in volume and form, Stories in the Vi Vu Forest in Vietnamese-English languages was translated by musician Tran Le Quynh.

Explaining why making the bilingual version, writer Truong Huynh Nhu Tran disclosed that in this edition, the author targeted overseas readers in addition to the domestic market. Overseas readers are Vietnamese families with children born abroad that do not want their children to forget the Vietnamese language.

For literate children who may be more fluent in English than Vietnamese, they more easily see similarities between words and be able to compare/learn sentence structure; therefore, bilingual books will help them increase their reading skill and in turn help domestic readers learn English when reading books.

Previously, many domestic publishing houses have also chosen a form of bilingual publishing to meet the needs of the market. These include Dinh Ti Books with Vietnamese-English blingual comics for children (12 volumes), Vietnamese-English-French multilingual smart motion book (18 volumes), bilingual vietnamese fairy tales (10 volumes), Chibooks with Aki Saying Thank You (3 volumes), Christmas Story (5 volumes), Bookcase of fairy tales such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hamelin Flute Player, Cow's Decision , First Dawn, Pandora's Box.

The Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House also caught up with this trend with a series of books by a group of authors - psychologists Le Thi Linh Trang and Ngo Thi Thanh Tien, including Children learn independent living skills (4 books), Teaching children talents (6 books), Escape skills for babies (7 books). Particularly, the publication of Hip Hop in the land of Ellsaby by author Isabelle Müller will be published in German-English-Vietnamese. In April, this author's next publication, Hip Hop and the Ginkgo Forest, will be released and will also be made multilingual.

Ms. Nguyen Le Chi, director of Chibooks, said that most bilingual books are children's books and are still mainly picture books, with many pictures, and few words. With thick titles, and many words, it is not possible to print bilingually because it requires deeper translation, and the cost will also be higher.

According to Nguyen Duc Vinh, Editor-in-Chief of Dinh Ti Books, currently, Dinh Ti's bilingual books with simple and easy-to-understand grammar are aimed at all audiences, which will hopefully help children to learn English. More importantly, bilingual books must not increase the selling price of the book.

With the same price, the consumption of dual-language books is slightly better than Vietnamese-only books. Although it is still mainly aimed at domestic readers and has not yet targeted foreign markets, Mr. Vinh stressed the importance of the improvement of the quality of books’ content.

Sharing the same opinion, Ms. Nguyen Le Chi said that bilingual books help domestic readers have more opportunities to learn foreign languages while publishing houses are also very convenient participating in international book fairs. Moreover, in case foreign publishers are interested in a book, bilingual publications will help them a lot in evaluating the content, thereby deciding whether to buy the copyright to sell in their countries, Ms. Le Chi said.

In addition, according to Ms. Nguyen Le Chi, bilingual books offer an open opportunity to be able to print in many different languages when their copyright was bought by a foreign country.

Ms. Vu Thi Yen, a representative of Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House, revealed that in May, the Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House will join a number of Vietnamese publishers to participate in the Asian Children's Book Fair in Singapore. In addition to promoting the exploitation of foreign copyrights, the Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House will also bring to this book fair a series of previously published bilingual and multilingual books.

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