2024 - The Year of the Wood Dragon



Wishing You a Happy and Prosperous 2024

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Clients,

This annual epistle was not written by Artificial Intelligence, but some of the graphics may have been generated and/or manipulated by a non-human, semi-intelligent machine. I was unable to organically capture any decent photographs of dragons to celebrate this auspicious year. All other content is entirely true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and abilities (and no dragons were harmed).

Now, I want to start this letter with a simple truth I recently found in my fortune cookie.

At this time of year, I like to reflect on my professional and personal activities from the past 12 months and share some highlights and my thoughts with you. As I still do not have a social media presence, this will be the only time you get to hear from me about my undertakings. At least you don’t have to suffer through silly cat videos, although I hear those can be entertaining, too..

You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking

I ended 2023 with some of my favorite activities, like walking in nature. I had the opportunity to go on a group “Zen Walk,” a deliberate, slow walk with a delightful Zen-like silence. It was my first group walk without talking, except for a couple of check-ins during the walk. It was a genuinely unique experience for me. One of my 2024 goals is to be a better learner by being a better listener. As Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking.”

The “Zen Walk” was an excellent way to learn the practice of listening. I noticed so much more when not chatting with other walkers.

December also afforded me some leisure time to have a family get-together over Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, help Rob make winter Kimchi, read, and catch up on some films. I hope you all had a pleasant and relaxing holiday season, whichever holiday(s) you celebrate.

With the recent rain here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the frogs have just begun singing their annual song, with the barn owls occasionally joining the chorus.

I love to leave my home office window open as I work in order to hear all the evening sounds of this special place I call Paradise.

Thanks to your continued friendship, love, and confidence in my work, I had a busy 2023 full of exciting and challenging interpreting assignments.

I haven’t taken on many translation projects lately, but occasionally, I am involved in some translation and review projects directly connected to my interpreting assignments.

While reflecting on the past 12 months adversely impacted by misinformation and disinformation, I thought about a conversation in a book I recently read titled “No Edges: Swahili Stories.”

The following excerpt is from a short story in that book, “From Nagona,” written by Euphrase Kezilahabi and translated by Duncan Ian Tarrant.

A dying friend of the family was speaking to a young girl...

“This could be our last chance to be together and talk. Tell me one thing. Who do you want to be in your life?” This was a question I had asked myself many times.
“You don’t have any plans for your future?!” he followed up, after I failed to respond quickly. “You don’t?!”
“I would like to be a teacher.”
“Ahaa,” he said. A short silence followed, then he carried on, “Never teach anything about which you are not certain, and don’t claim to hold the truth in your hands.”

While growing up in Seoul, Korea, whenever someone asked me that question, my answer was the same as that girl’s. I wanted to teach Korean literature. Back then, teachers received respect, had freedom and autonomy, and didn’t have to worry about offending or disciplining spoiled brats, or bullying from the students’ parents. Later, when I was at university in the U.S., I wanted to be a high school history teacher.

I have to admit now that I am glad I didn’t become a teacher. Too often, teachers are being robbed of autonomy about curriculum development, books are being banned, and their physical safety is even being threatened. Children need to be taught REAL history in every school, however painful or uncomfortable! Thinking about this sad reality, the old man’s wisdom about spreading the truth spoke to me. As a society, I know we can do better.

Personal Activities:

After 3 years of not doing any leisure travel, Rob and I finally made time for a couple of epic getaways.

We spent some time on the Kona Coast of Hawaii for Rob’s birthday at the end of January.

We did some snorkeling at Two Step Beach, hiked around Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and ate lots of Poke and other great food.

But the highlight of the trip was a day of fishing with Captain John Burke of Skillet Sportfishing – Honokau Harbor, Kailua-Kona.

See video - https://youtu.be/Gy3lDxgdrt4

Rob caught (and released) a fish of a lifetime! An 11’ long 650 lbs Blue Marlin! After a 30 to 40-minute fight, I’m not sure who really won, Rob or the fish.

He also caught a 10 lbs Yellow Fin Tuna, giving us beautiful fresh sashimi for the remainder of the trip.

In November, we went to Korea – Seoul, Busan, Jeju Island, and then back to Seoul. This time around, we didn’t do a lot of touristy sightseeing.

Well okay, we did a little bit of that.

This trip was mainly intended as a 3-week culinary tour - I guess we like to eat good food.

We also got to spend quality time with my brother, niece, and some dear old friends.

Rob got to practice speaking Korean some. He’s not ready to be my booth partner, but now I know he won’t starve if we get separated in Korea.

Profesional Activities:

Some statistics from my professional activities:

Judiciary Interpreting:

Remote Court Assignments – 36% (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, and WebEx) from California State courts in 11 counties, 2 U.S. District Courts, and 1 out-of-state

In-person Court Assignments – 64% from California State courts in 9 counties and 1 U.S. District Court

Arbitrations, Depositions, and Mediations – 38% via Zoom and 62% in-person

Attorney-Client Meetings – 100% Remote


Remote Assignments – 64% (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI) Platform

In-person Assignments – 36% from throughout California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Seoul, and Copenhagen, to name a few. Some of the topics I interpreted, including the following, frightened me – disinformation, loneliness, environment, school bullying, 2024 U.S. elections, and cyber security.

Learning Teaching and Learning:

Continuing Education via Zoom:

“Interpreting for Gender & Sexual Diversity” presented by Kelly (Grzech) Henriquez

“Wrapping Up an Interpreting Project” presented by Maha El-Metwally

“Is the Robot Apocalypse Near?” presented by Carola F. Berger, Ph.D

Seminars and Workshops I presented:

April 2023 Spring Introduction to the Interpreting and Translation Profession at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA)

Ethics Training Sessions for Recently Certified Court Interpreters via Zoom

U.S. Department of State Office of Language Services 2023 Virtual Training Initiative “Interpret Like an Expert in Any Field: Preparation Strategies for IVLP Interpreters” via Zoom

Interviewed by William Giller, Northern California Translators Association (NCTA) Publications Director for NCTA Magazine, Translorial

Now it’s time to share books and films. Please don’t forget to share your favorites. Thank you.


  • The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd
  • Moonwalking with Einstein:The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
  • The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn
  • No Edges: Swahili Stories


  • Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
  • Peafowl, directed by BYUN Sung-bin
  • Past Lives, directed by Celine Song
  • Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan
  • Godzilla Minus One, directed by Takashi Yamazaki
  • Cocaine Bear, directed by Elizabeth Banks
  • The Captain (Der Hauptmann), directed by Robert Schwentke
  • Call Me by Your Name, directed by Luca Guadagnino
  • RRR (Rise Roar Revolt), directed by S. S. Rajamouli
  • Translators - This is their story, directed by Rudy Valdez
  • The Whale, directed by Darren Aronofsky
  • The Banshees of Inisherin, directed by Martin McDonagh
  • Two Lives, directed by Georg Maas and Judith Kaufmann
  • The White Tiger, directed by Ramin Bahrani

Live Shows and Exhibits:

  • Ed Sheeran: +-=÷× Tour at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
  • Alexus Lee, Jazz R&B at Lippitt House Museum Concerts in the Garden, Providence, Rhode Island
  • “The Nanta” in Seoul
  • “How to Save Yourself from Stupid Ideas that the World Made Up About You (and Become a F’N Legend)” during Out North Fringe Festival at Out North Theatre in Anchorage
  • “Ansel Adams in Our Time” Exhibit at de Young Museum, San Francisco


  • San Pedro Valley San Mateo County Park, Pacifica, California
  • Moonlight Hike - Mission Peak in Fremont, California
  • Hallasan Dulle-gil on Jeju Island, Korea
  • Point Reyes Hike with lots of beautiful mushrooms

Mini Getaways and Family Events:

  • McMinnville, Oregon (to visit dear friend Sylvie)
  • Sue-Meg, aka Patricks Point State Park Agate Beach
  • Sequoia Park Zoo, Eureka
  • Nibling Julie’s visit from Singapore
  • Nibling Joseph Hong & Aimee Jung’s Wedding in Pleasanton, California
(Nibling is a gender-neutral term for a child of one’s sibling. It’s a word I recently learned. Who knew?)

That's it, folks!

Thanks for reading.
Here's wishing you a happy 2024, Year of the Wood Dragon!

With Much Love,


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