Fouled In Translation

Whenever reading a book with Dao, I try to translate the texts into Vietnamese so that he could also pick the language. One of our bedtime stories for tonight was P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go!. I read to him, “Đi Chó Đi.” He repeated, “Đỉ Chó Đi.” My jaw dropped and I asked him, “What did you just say?” Then I quickly changed my mind, “Don’t repeat what you just say. Let’s read on in English.” I was laughing my head off and the poor kid didn’t know why. Sometimes just a slight tone could change the whole context in Vietnamese. An innocent word could turn into something quite pejorative.