2017 - The Year of the Rooster



Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Clients,

2017 arrived quietly and without fanfare. I’m sitting here looking through our living room window at the more than 100 year old, big oak tree getting wet from a most welcome winter rain. After 5 years of drought in California, rain is now considered “good weather”. I for one, am not complaining. It gives me time to reflect on the past 12 months and express my sincerest gratitude to you who have helped me fill my 2016 with adventures, excitement, friendship, and love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I am still living without a Facebook account, and I am not any closer to getting one. My social media activity is limited to this annual holiday letter. So this is the only time you will hear from me with my highlights of the year. A few days ago I saw a library of bumper stickers on a car that made me think. With a plethora of unforeseen, unanticipated, surprising, unexpected, shocking, and astounding events around the globe in 2016, I need to keep reminding myself to do the following and try to be optimistic.


"Change how you see not how you look"
"Don’t assume I share your prejudices"
"Speak your mind even if your voice shakes"
"I’m straight but not narrow"
"Don’t believe everything you think"
"Remember who you wanted to be"

Bumper Stickers

Now, let me share some of the highlights of 2016 with you in this 22nd annual missive. Last year, January started for me with a record breaking cold temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius) in Seoul, Korea. Though I was very happy to see my friends and family members and enjoy delicious authentic Korean foods, whenever I had free time from an extremely stressful assignment, I was a prisoner in my hotel room taking refuge from the weather.

During my stay in Seoul, I was lucky to have gotten a chance to spend some quality time with my dear friend, mentor, and author Lee Hochul. I was very saddened by the news of his passing in September. He was 84. I will miss him a lot. His last email to me said “You told me you were returning home on the 23rd. Did you arrive at home okay? Please give my regards to your wonderful husband who can make fabulous Ban Chan (Korean side dishes).”

Rob's 50's birthday celebration lasted three days including a surprise birthday party, a day at the San Francisco zoo looking at adorable and magnificent animals.

Afterwards we had a most memorable meal at “Kusakabe” Japanese Restaurant.

For the record, my birthday celebration traditionally lasts a whole month. So three days of celebration isn’t extravagant.


Now about work

My conference interpretation assignments challenged me to deep-dive into the study of various topics including Alzheimer's disease, credit card processing, currency counters, medical devices, online entertainment, and open source solutions. I also enjoyed interpreting recurring topics including almonds, automotive, cherries, community service, cotton, design thinking, films, human resources, human rights, Information Technology, Internet Security, labor union, marketing, military, and network solutions.

North Korean defectors for whom I interpreted, shared through their personal experiences the importance of freedom and what it’s like living in constant fear. I also learned what can and is being done to begin to silence a brutal dictatorship. 

The life cycle of almonds, cherries, and cotton taught me how dependent upon and vulnerable we are to Mother Nature. As a judiciary interpreter, I had a fair number of depositions and court assignments. I also enjoyed interpreting over the phone in the comfort of my own home with clear sound and no technical glitches. In addition, I had a couple of parent-teacher meetings and medical interpretation assignments. Although the volume of voiceover projects went down compared to the previous years, I still enjoy doing voiceover work tremendously. As always, I worked as translator, editor, and proofreader on a wide variety of assignments.

To hone my knowledge and professional skills, I attended various seminars and workshops. One very interesting workshop entitled "Forensic and Correctional Psychiatry" stands out. From this thought-provoking workshop, I learned about the different shades of prejudice that result in racism and discrimination in the United States. “Improv Comedy for Translators and Interpreters” made me realize again how the simultaneous interpreter’s job is similar to that of improv actor. It was also fun sharing laughter with a roomful of translators and interpreters.

I also got to share my experience as a Korean/English conference interpreter and translator for over 30 years at the American Translators Association's (ATA) 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco. I gave 2 presentations. “Korean Grammar: Observing the Rules” for Korean speakers only, and “Strategies for Successful Conference Interpreting” was delivered in English and open to all interpreters and translators interested in learning more about conference interpreting.

Although interpreting, preparing for assignments, translating, preparing for my presentations took a lot of my time, I tried to take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy my limited time wherever I found myself. I went horseback riding in Kona,

appreciated Native American artifacts and natural history specimens from the Colorado Plateau at Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, visited Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Charlottesville,Virginia

and took a Black Canyon Raft Tour to view magnificent Lake Mead, Base of Hoover Dam, Colorado River, and Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Till Memorial Bridge.

On the way back to my hotel from the raft tour, I got to be quite close to some desert big horn sheep. That was a real treat.

A Yousuf Karsh's Photo Exhibit was unforgettable. He is a true photographer’s photographer.

On a beautiful September day, Rob and I hosted Northern California Translators Association's (NCTA) summer picnic potluck at our house.

some of the cultural events Rob and I enjoyed this year

An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin – I don’t know when I last laughed this hard. She’s absolutely brilliant!
Aubergine at Berkeley Repertory Theatre – One of the most touching and poignant plays I ever saw. Laughed and cried at the same time.
Colette Uncensored – Wonderful play written by my dear friend Zack Rogow with Lorri Holt who stars in a solo show about the French author Colette.
Michael Krasny in Conversation – Very enjoyable evening with familiar and unfamiliar Jewish Humor.
Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles Love – Great Beatles music and inimitable Cirque du Soleil's amazing performance and special effects.
– How can anyone overcome temptation not to sing along "I Want to Know What Love Is"?
The Bombadils House concert at Maria's beautiful home – What a perfect evening with wonderful music, great company, scintillating conversations, and delicious food!

some of my favorite books and films of 2016

(Please share with me some of yours).
I have been meaning to read these books for quite some time and finally reached them; none disappointed me.

To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History by Edmund Wilson (1940)
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
Greek Lessons (2011) and The Vegetarian (2007) by Han Kang
The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Kang Chol-Hwan (2001)
Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love and the Search for Home by Kim Sunee (2008)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (2006)

a few of the films I thought were memorable

Ten Canoes
He Named Me Malala
Ixcanul (volcano in Kaqchikel spoken by the indigenous Kaqchikel people in central Guatemala)
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Royal Tailor
The Wailing
The Messenger with Woody Harrelson
The Handmaiden

Last but not least, my nephew Philip married beautiful Sharon in May and my niece Ashley graduated from high school and has been enjoying her college life in Oregon.

Rob and I spent our 3rd wedding anniversary in Las Vegas and one week on Cape Cod visiting Dad and Elizabeth and had the world’s best lobster.


Speaking about family…

Raccoons in our backyard taught me the importance of family by demonstrating a mother’s love (and protection) for her babes.

That's it folks.

Thanks for reading. Here's wishing you a happy year of the rooster!

With warmest regards,

Jacki Noh
(510) 914-7596 Phone
(415) 295-4123 Fax
550 N. San Pedro Rd.
San Rafael, CA 94903 USA