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Lolo Pham Event

Lolo Pham, IGCSE Student and Published Author

Some individuals may work a lifetime to have a piece of work published, Lolo Pham has done that whilst still in Year 11.

For the first time in the history of BIS we are able to feature on the shelves of our own library a published piece of literary work, authored by one of our current students. To say what Lolo Pham has achieved at such a young age is an amazing achievement would be an understatement. We were delighted to celebrate the occasion with an intimate ceremony in our library; the Curve, alongside Lolo's family, close form friends and teachers, where Lolo presented the collection to our Principal Mr Anthony Rowlands. Lolo was also kind enough to give an in-person reading to one of our Year 4 classes at the Junior Campus.

Almost one year ago Lolo began the task of translating some classic Vietnamese folk tales in to English on behalf of an author who was trying to get a bi-lingual version of the tales published. They hit a huge roadblock however when the publishing request was denied due to the translation not being accurate enough and truly representative of the source material. This was where Lolo stepped in. Originally she began by only translating one tale, however she did such an amazing job that she was requested to do a second tale. A second tale led to a third, and a third led to a total of 9 tales being translated!

Whilst Lolo gifted the collection to our Principal Mr Rowlands, our Secondary Head Teacher Mr O'Neill had the opportunity to ask our young author some questions on what it's like to be published.  When asking what inspired her to begin this project Lolo informed Mr O'Neill that the publishing house had rejected the authors submissions due to the translation, and the project had been stuck in limbo for almost a year, and it was Lolo's mother who initially asked her to help him by showing an example translation of one of the tales. Perhaps she wasn't quite expecting how much he would love her translation and so she accidentally stumbled in to being the dedicated translator for the entire collection.

When Mr O'Neill asked what the challenges she faced were Lolo touched on the fact it took a lot of motivation to finish the project, due to the sheer scale of it and it seemed the moment she finished one tale there was always another ready to tackle. Lolo also aluded to how taxing it can be mentally for the fact that you have to do so much cross-referencing when undertaking translation, from trawling through a number of dictionary resources to getting help from her mother and grandpa.

To successfully translate from Vietnamese to a English that not only sounds natural to an English speaker, but also truly represents the Viet meaning is a challenge that cannot be overlooked. Our Principal Mr Rowlands was able to relate here, and provided an anecdote on the Welsh word 'Hiraeth', where he expressed the fact that he could simply not translate it to English because it would still not bear the true emtional feeling evoked for Welsh speakers, so the fact Lolo had managed to successfully translate a total of 9 folk tales that are engrained so deeply within Vietnamese culture is a phenomanal feat.

Lolo Pham Success Story

When asked by Mr O'Neill what were some of the things learned and gained from the experience, Lolo jokingly pointed to the fact her Vietnamese vocabulary had increased, but also referred to how much perseverance it took to complete the collection, and that not every translation she did was automatically accepted, it took a lot of grit, determination and multiple drafts to deliver the best possible work she could.

When giving advice to any young aspiring authors Lolo hit home on the point that you just have to keep on trying, and just because you don't achieve the results you want on the first edit you have to keep working on that next draft because it only continues to get better as you refine your skills.

A very touching point that Lolo emphasised towards the end is the following quote.

I didn't start out actively pursuing the translation of books, I just did it because I could help someone and it's the kind thing to do when you know something that others don't. You help them out. Lolo Pham
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  • Lolo Pham Success Story

A very thoughtful and kind act indeed, but Lolo's acts of kindness wouldn't stop there. These folk tales are primarily aimed at a younger audience, and Lolo very generously agreed to give a class reading in our Junior campus to a very excited Year 4 class. When told she would be reading 'The Mountain God and the Water God' it was met with a stir of excitement amongst those students who already knew what the story was, a testament to the importance of these tales within Vietnamese culture. The fact that these aspects of Vietnamese culture and history can now be shared so accuratley with English speakers is a monumental reflection of what it means to be a BIS student, where across many different nationalities we can come together as a single community that shares in and celebrates each others diversity. Listen to the class reading by Lolo on the link below

  • Lolo Pham
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We are incredibly proud of Lolo's publishing achievement, but are prouder still of the person she has become and we wish her all the success in her upcoming IGCSEs and the future.