A Hmong Translator?


For the past couple of weeks, my aunts and their friends been calling me to see if I would go and translate for them. Whether it’s a job interview, help with paper work, and even court, they have asked me to help them translate. I mean, this is nothing new to me, but at the same time, i don’t think my Hmong is good enough to be translating for them, especially when it comes to court cases. My first court case was this, well, just yesterday. I was nervous, at the same time, scare too. I was doubting myself if i could even translate what the judge or lawyers ask for. What kept me going was my pop’s words before i headed out, “Ua li koj ua tau xwb mog. Tsis paub lo twg los maj mam xav seb lo lus ntawv txhais tau li cas xwb mog.” In translation, “Know what you know. If your’e unable to know a word, try to elaborate on it.” It’s true, i did my best, elaborate the english word out in Hmong to get the meaning across because the thing is, not all english words have a specific hmong word for it. That is why it’s a little hard to explain in hmong, especially those that don’t know much hmong to begin with. At first it was hard, but i got the hang of it. I was able to translate all that was asked from the judge and the lawyer. Wheh, luckily i didn’t die in there.😀

Anyways, now others are calling me to see when i’m free so that either they can come over with paper to help them fill it out, or go with them to places. Although i’m not working at the moment, but i feel good about it too. Able to help others on my free time. I mean, it’s better than just doing nothing and staying online.

But what i’m concern about is, i want to improve on my hmong, speak it clearly and in a manner that the elders would like. My hmong is like the regular talk hmong, but when it comes to talking to the elders, you really have to pick and choose your word wisely. one wrong word and it can mean a whole different things, which is scary especially speaking to or with an hmong elder. Gah… there’s not much hmong people down here, and nothing that is well known to help teens like me to learn hmong. Well, nothing that i’ve heard about it.

at times, i feel useless translating because i come upon words where i just say it in english and i feel stupid. I remember when we were at a store, my pop pointed out to us kids that a small 7 year old hispanic child can translate to his parents but we can’t? Now that’s embarrassing, especially comparing us to a 7 year old. Wow.

Well, i guess if i keep this up and others think i’m doing good, cause they’re still calling me, i guess i am doing good at something. haha. Atleast i’m not screwing up! gah…