Overseas Vietnamese translate biology textbook to help students at home

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Cover of the sixth edition of the book "Molecular Cell Biology" in English (L) and the first Vietnamese version of the book

A group of young Vietnamese people working and studying abroad are translating English books into Vietnamese to help students in Vietnam have greater access to updated knowledge and information.

The leader of the group is Dr Nguyen Xuan Hung, working at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Strasbourg, France. Its main members are Dr Le Thi Nguyet of Boston's Children hospital and other postgraduate students including Nguyen Ngoc Luong of Korea's Chonbuk National University, Tran Thi Thu Thuy of California San Diego University and Salk Institute Biological Studies in the US, and Nguyen Thanh Diu of Oxford University in England.

An unnamed member of the group said:

 
 Members of the translating group
"Most of the scientific textbooks used in Vietnam, especially biology textbooks, are outdated as they have been translated or edited around 10-30 years ago. On the other hand, not all  Vietnamese students can understand thoroughly or have opportunities to access qualified scientific English documents; so this translation project will not only help them to understand the books easily but also give them a chance to gain more of knowledge."

The group has been translated a part of the book "Molecular Cell Biology" with the support of its author, Professor Harvey Lodish, one of the founders of the US-based Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

In cooperation with Ho Chi Minh City-based Tre (Youth) Publishing House, the team has issued the book's first Vietnamese edition, containing the first three chapters of the sixth edition of the book, which so far has been warmly welcomed in Vietnam. 

The group considers "Molecular Cell Biology" a document that would help many Vietnamese students and researchers.  

Although members of the group live far from each other, they work together in an online forum to make sure the translated version of the books is consistent and coherent.

The group is now working on the seventh edition of "Molecular Cell Biology" and has planned to publish its second Vietnamese edition in March next year

But at the moment, they are having some financial problems as revenues from the first edition have barely covered the costs of printing and publishing. 

However, raising the book's price would not be their solution, because the current price of VND87,000  (US$4.16) for one book) is still high for many Vietnamese students. 

The group has called on the Vietnamese youth and student  association in Boston to raise funds for the project, with the hope reducing the second edition's price further.

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