TransKorean Services - Korean / English Interpreter

Annual Letters from years gone by

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December 2004




 

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Looking at my mailbox filled with holiday wishes every day I realize it's that time of year again. I wish you all the best in 2005 and offer my sincere gratitude for your confidence in my work and for your support, friendship, and love in my 10th (hard to believe, isn't it?) annual letter. As in previous years, since much of my time was spent in the air and hotel rooms in different time zones, I have not been in touch with you. So in case you wonder what I have been up to, here's my answer, with some statistics.

First and foremost, I want to share the great news for TransKorean Services – the addition of staff person, Garrett Moriguchi. He is smart, funny, and wise and it's a true joy to work with him side by side. He joined this April. If you haven't had a chance to talk with him, give him a call and say hello. He's in the office from 9 to 5 Pacific Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

In 2004, I worked as a simultaneous interpreter at 30 different conferences working 101 days total. These assignments happily took me to Seoul, Korea (twice), my birthplace and home for the first 18 years of my life; Vancouver, Canada, one of my all-time favorite cities; as well as Munich, Germany during Oktoberfest (Yes, I had a bit of delicious beer in one of those humongous tents full of music and laughter). The conferences where I interpreted covered a wide range of topics: "marketing" takes the definite lead followed by high tech, and health and beauty. I also worked as a judiciary interpreter in both federal and state courts appearing at 96 half-day sessions, averaging two half-day appearances a week. Other types of interpreting assignments included depositions, administrative hearings, early neutral evaluations, resident meetings, and parent-teacher meetings, among others. I had seven voice-over recording sessions including one for the USS Arizona Memorial audio guide and movie (if you ever visit Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, look my voice up).

As a translator and editor I worked on: election materials; newsletters; employee training manuals; codes of ethics; government and school forms; promotional materials including web sites, ads, and brochures, health education materials including a parents' guide, business correspondence, survey questionnaires and responses, warning labels, newspaper articles, press releases, coupons, video games, audio and video scripts, and several love letters (I am happy to inform you that one of the letter writers personally called to thank me for bringing him the desired results!).

In order to fulfill my insatiable appetite for scintillating conversation, I sat through over 100 hours of lectures and seminars with titles such as "Shanghai: the Evolution of a City," "The Political Ecology of Famine: The North Korean Catastrophe and its Lessons," "The History of the English Language," and "Sounds of South Korea: Music and Language." I also had the good fortune to see and hear Ira Glass, the producer and host of National Public Radio's "This American Life," though I had to drive 240 lonely miles (384 kilometers) to get there and back.

I was also invited to present at the first statewide interpreters conference, "One Voice: A Community of Interpreters," sponsored by the California Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in Burbank, California. I chose sight translation as my topic and titled my presentation "Aha! That's what I was looking for" (If you would like to receive a PowerPoint presentation, just drop me an e-mail). During the presentation I made a point that as an interpreter it is quite healthy to have a proper dose of self-doubt.

Another reason I was quite busy was that, as in 2002, I wrote 13 weekly columns for the Korea Times (Hankook Ilbo) in Korean from April through July. I enjoyed this opportunity tremendously, sharing my views and thoughts on various issues with the readers while having a tiny fan base who treated me as if I were some type of celebrity in public gatherings. Some of the titles of my columns were as follows: "Frog in a Well," "Remembering Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice" (this column was written during the 50th anniversary of landmark case Brown v. Board of Education), "Postcard from Seoul," and "Like a Blank Canvas." A couple of columns were on the presidential election; one urging all my readers to vote with a clear conscience and accurate information.

As a movie buff I saw 37 movies in theatres and many more on planes. As of yet I have not seen any Oscar-worthy movies, but my favorites this year are as follows – Jim Sheridan's In America (It was made in 2002 but I saw it in January 2004), The Story of the Weeping Camel (Documentary about a Mongolian nomadic family's newest camel colt), Napolean Dynamite (I think this is one of the funniest movies nobody ever heard of), Memories of Murder (a Korean film directed by Bong Joon-Ho which was showcased during the San Francisco International Film Festival – it was wonderful to be his interpreter and to satisfy my curiosity by asking MY questions about his film-making process when I was NOT interpreting), and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring (a beautiful Korean film directed by Kim Ki-Duk ). The most interesting play I saw this year was Yellowman written by Dael Orlandersmith. My favorite books are Where the Oceans Meet – the first novel by Bhargavi C. Mandava, Blessings by Anna Quindlen, and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. One of the Korean books I enjoyed is Shim Chun Do (Topographic Map) about the life of public servants written by my dear friend, Lee Ho-Chul in 1967. Two of his books – Southerners, Northerners and Panmunjom – have just been translated and published in the United States. Please share with me your favorite books and movies.

In January I started hiking with my mom and her friends. If you enjoy hiking and know interesting trails please let me know.

Yes, it truly has been a busy year that only allowed Robert and me to get away for a week to Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon, where we had a great time.

That's It Folks! Thanks for reading. HERE'S WISHING YOU VERY HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

With Warm Regards,

Jacki NH
TransKorean Services