2018 - The Year of the Dog



Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Clients,

Happy Year of the Dog!
What a year 2017 was! So much to be thankful for, yet sometimes I have to remind myself of that.

I just returned home from the Women’s March in San Francisco with renewed hope from witnessing and participating in so much energy, enthusiasm and passion. Tracy Chapman’s "Talkin' About a Revolution" and inspirational speeches from local activists and politicians reinvigorated and encouraged me. There were so many funny and clever signs. I want to share some of the captions with you. “2018: Year of the dog; It’s our year, bitches”; “I wish it was all fake news – you couldn’t make this shit up”;  "Remove Putin’s Puppets”; “Lock Him Up!”; “Men of quality do not fear equality”; “1955 is calling... Don’t answer”; “Make America Think Again”; “We are not ovary reacting”; “Not My Cheeto” and “History has its eyes on you.” Another marcher told me a real funny one she saw. “I’ve seen better cabinets at IKEA!”


Though it’s not the year of the monkey, I want to share this family portrait as a token of my sincerest gratitude to all of you for your continuous support and friendship, especially the laughter you shared with me in 2017. I needed that laughter more than any other year. My apologies for being late with this. I have indeed heard many of you saying “Jacki, where is your year-end letter?” Let’s just call this my Lunar Year End letter. Can you believe this annual missive turned 23 this year? That was nine years into this exciting, challenging and adventurous interpreter journey that I started when I was 23. I guess I am very fortunate that after 32 years, I still enjoy being the voice of conference speakers, judges, defendants, witnesses, attorneys and their clients, doctors, patients, reporters, and politicians. I love being a part of them sharing their stories. Working with all these people from all walks of life continues to teach me the value of listening. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes from a former United States Representative Barbara Jordan, “It’s more important to be interested than interesting". Time has gone by so fast. It feels like just yesterday that I uttered the first rendition of my interpretation in a shaky voice. That was in March of 1986.  


Okay, enough nostalgia. Let me share some highlights of 2017 that came to mind during my wonderful holiday staycation. I was blessed to have had the chance to spend time with some of my dear friends living in the United States as well as different parts of the world. It made me feel like a gazillion bucks. As Lilian Whiting aptly said “To be rich in friends is to be poor in nothing.”

I started 2017 with a delicious brunch prepared by Afaf and Matthias followed by a wonderful walk in the East Bay Hills. It was perfect sunny weather without a hint of winter on January 1st. Then my first assignment took me to cold and windy Colorado Springs. The wind was so strong at 60 miles (about 100 km) per hour. I could not even walk to the venue which was only 0.4 miles (0.64 km) away from my hotel. That was the first time the wind actually scared me. Despite the wind, unfamiliar towns and boring hotel rooms, I still passionately enjoy interpreting, translating and sharing the knowledge and expertise I have accumulated over the past 3 decades.

For those interested, here are some statistics with respect to my work in 2017. As a conference interpreter, I worked at 35 conferences in various states in the US and overseas. All this air travel reminded me of George Clooney’s movie Up in the Air (Several friends of mine said they immediately thought of me when they saw the movie). On more than one occasion, Rob picked me up at the airport, took me to have lunch or dinner, and then took me back to the airport for my next flight out. I did not even have time to go home before catching the next plane to my next assignment. I am SO LUCKY to have him, and he is SO PATIENT with my business travel. If not for his own busy studio schedule he would accompany me on more of my trips. Speaking of George Clooney, I had an opportunity to watch Being George Clooney, a documentary about the people who supply the voices of George Clooney in dubbed international versions of Hollywood blockbusters. It was a lot of fun.

All these conferences required a lot of time for research and preparation, which is one of the more rewarding parts of these assignments. It’s better than classroom study and it gives me a varied collection of interesting knowledge I would not be exposed to any other way. I had opportunities to study the following topics: the almond (my favorite stone fruit; yes, it belongs to family of peach) and cherry industries (Yum Yum), chemical analysis, clean energy, cosmetics, food safety, innovation, IT, medical devices, military, perfume, postal service, and smart phones.

I worked as a court interpreter for various California State courts (66.5 days) and district courts in Chicago, Memphis, and Pahrump, Nevada. I interpreted at a number of depositions (52.5 days). Over the phone interpretation assignments for private clients increased as well. I also gave a presentation on conference interpreting in Washington, D.C. and taught a two-day court interpreting workshop in Chicago.

Okay, enough talk of work.
Rob and I were very fortunate to meet our goal of taking at least one domestic road trip and one international trip annually. For our domestic trip we drove to Tucson, Arizona. We had a wonderful time with our dear friends David and Noriko. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park were definitely my favorites and a “must see” for anyone visiting the southwestern United States.


Our international trip was to Bali, Indonesia. Our ulterior motive for going there was to attend the wedding of my beautiful niece Julie and her handsome husband Andrew.

One of the best and most memorable parts about Bali was the local people we met.The Balinese are the warmest people with the most genuine smiles I have ever met.

I am relieved that we survived the Sunrise Trekking on Mount Batur with hikers half of our ages. That definitely seemed like one of the most strenuous hikes I have ever done.

I also enjoyed playing with very mischievous and adorable monkeys at The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. (See family portrait above).

I also traveled to South Korea as my 86 year old mother’s chaperon. Spending quality time with my mom, relatives and her friends taught me a lot of things that I didn’t know about her.

Here my Mom and her friend of over 80 years are enjoying a delicious Korean dish - Stuffed Chicken with sweet rice, chestnuts, Korean dates, garlic, pepper and various herbs. Just writing about this dish makes my mouth water.

Speaking about people I love, I had to say good bye to my beloved father-in-law, TR who passed away on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in August. He was just like my dad who left me when I was 13 but was able to give me enough love to last my lifetime. TR truly made me feel loved and appreciated; I miss you, Dad.

I dabbled in literary translation by attending “Introduction to Literary Translation” sponsored by Northern California Translators Association. As homework, I translated an excerpt from The Naked Tree by Park Wansuh, one of my favorite Korean writers. If you are interested, you can find my translation here.

I attended a lecture titled “Titling a 17th Century Opera: Bringing a Lost Opera Back to Life Through Translation” by Joseph McClinton. It was very interesting. I also attended a class at the Jewish Community Center called “A Taste of Talmud: Introduction to the Talmud” and realized once again how there are more things in common among different religions than differences.

When I met lots of gods at “Garden of the Gods” in Colorado Springs, I asked them why your followers are always fighting. They couldn’t give me any satisfactory answers.

Now, it’s time to share my favorite books, films, and cultural events. Please kindly share yours.

First, here are some of the books I read in 2017 that moved and awakened my zeal for books:

Voices of Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich (1997)
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016)
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (2011)
Terrorist by John Updike (2006)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)

It was definitely a good year for films. Here are some of my favorites I saw at theatres:

Manchester by the Sea 
Get Out 
Victoria and Abdul 
The Big Sick

Just as I have very eclectic tastes in literature and films, I enjoy all sorts of shows and plays. There are quite a few shows this year that are worthy of mention in this letter.

The Second City’s Best of the Second City 
Uncle Vanya (A play by Anton Chekhov)
Monsoon Wedding (Musical)
The Four Immigrants (American Musical Manga)
Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass
La Circe (Opera) 
Fiddler on the Roof (Musical)
Avenue Q (Musical)
Live Nation presents, Trevor Noah!
(I think I laughed as hard as when I saw Lily Tomlin the previous year at the same theatre.)

Once again, thank you very much for continuing to give me the opportunity to do what I love to do. And forgive my nonexistence on social media. This is as close to Facebook as I get. Please share your thoughts via email or text. I would love to hear from you.

That's it folks.

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

With warmest regards,

Jacki Noh
(510) 914-7596 (Call/Text)
jackinoh (Skype)
550 N. San Pedro Rd.
San Rafael, CA 94903 USA