Written by Shu-Huai Lin

Translated by Erica Lee Proofread by May Lin

Photographed by Shun-De Ma

Since it was the first time for Yi-Xuan Li to be responsible as the contact person for English written translation team in TIMA convention, she was worried she might not complete this task and she could not sleep well at night. “There have been many times when I washed my hair, I found a big tuft of my hair lost, without knowing how to solve the problem,” she said. Nevertheless, Yi-Xuan Li thought: “I made the vow by myself, didn’t I?”

Taichung Foreign Language Team was established in January 2016. Back in 2015, when the Tzu Chi volunteers in Taichung first undertook the Year-End Blessing Ceremony for overseas volunteers, there was a huge demand for foreign language translation services. Master Cheng Yen talked to the senior volunteers in central Taiwan, “For more and more camps will be held for overseas volunteers in Taichung, it’s necessary for you to form a foreign language team here.” Because of this, Yi-Xuan Li had the opportunity to be the leader of the translation team in 2017 TIMA Convention.

Brave to Take Any Challenges

In March, 2016, Yi-Xuan Li participated in a camp for foreign language volunteers held in Hualien Jing Si Hall and came across Xin-Yi Hong, who is one of the responsible persons for Taichung Foreign Language Team. At that moment Yi-Xuan Li was invited to join the Taichung Foreign Language Team. She volunteered to do translation work in the camp for overseas volunteer leaders in 2016, and the camp for recycling volunteers in 2017.

Comparing to her previous experience doing the pick up and see off task while she was in Taoyuen Foreign Language Team, Yi-Xuan Li actually learnt more from the challenges of these two camps. Since Yi-Xuan Li is very enthusiastic about trying new things, under Xin-Yi Hong’s encouragement, Yi-Xuan Li not only became the first volunteer to register, but also took the great responsibility of being a leader of the translation team in the TIMA Convention.

Since the 487 participants of the TIMA Convention were from 21 countries, there was a huge demand for volunteers who can do the translation or interpretation work. Yi-Xuan Li explained that the interpreting volunteers need to be very responsive and concentrated, have a good command of both English and Chinese, and talk clearly. As for translating volunteers, who have less time pressure than those who interpret, they also encounter many challenges as the workload is heavy. If one is not mentally prepared, one might give up easily. That’s why Yi-Xuan Li encouraged herself to break through the difficulties.

"Where are the volunteers who can do the translation work?" With the date getting closer, the pressure became greater to Yi-Xuan Li. She felt helpless and stressful. "I don’t know where to recruit the volunteers who can meet the requirements," said Li. She even began to doubt herself: "Why did I take the responsibility to contact the volunteers?" Unable to relax, Yi-Xuan Li prayed to the Buddha in the hope that everything would go very smoothly.

Foreign language team volunteer Yi-Xuan Li took the responsibility as the leader of written translation team for the 2017 TIMA Convention for the first time. She said, "it is a very challenging task, but also a new learning experience to me." After two months’ prior preparation, Yi-Xuan Li is grateful for the companionship and caring from the senior volunteers, which not only largely enhanced the confidence of the Taichung Foreign Language Team, but also gave her the new learning opportunity. Photographed by Hong-Wen Li
Learning to relax and move forward

Li asked herself whether she has formed good affinity with others. She tried to relax and wished there will be volunteers who can help her. Then, she discussed the problems when she met You-Ping Zhang, a staff of the headquarter of Tzu Chi. You-Ping Zhang reminded her that due to few interactions among volunteers in different regions, it was inevitable for them to have quarrels sometimes. As long as she could solve this problem, it would go more smoothly.

Encouraged by You-Ping Zhang, Yi-Xuan became relaxed. She started to call the members of foreign language team in Taoyuan, so the number of people who registered to participate in translation team increased gradually. Right after that, the senior translating volunteers from Taipei were also invited to give support.

You-Ping Zhang, a staff of Tzu Chi Foundation, accompanies the foreign translation team through the entire process, expressed his gratitude for this learning opportunity. You-Ping Zhang was immigrated with his family to Singapore when he was little. Two years ago he moved back to Taiwan with his family and settled in Fengyuan. Soon after that, he works in Tzu Chi Foundation. Thus, he has the opportunity to work with the Taichung Foreign Language Team. Photographed by Wen-Dao Yang

The problem of short of volunteers has no longer troubled Yi-Xuan. Then, she had some meetings with the volunteers in order to exchange their thoughts and reach a consensus. As her problem was solved, she could sleep well and didn’t lose her hair any more.

In order to polish her translating skills, Yi-Xuan Li tried to translate the story of Dr. Sen-Jia Li. "Dr. Li made the vow to not only work until his last breath, but also to donate his body after his death," Yi-Xuan Li said. She was grateful for Dr. Li, who made her understand the impermanence of life. Thus, she learned to cherish every moment to give. With this thought in her mind, Yi-Xuan Li talks more softly while dealing with the matters of people. As a result, things went more smoothly.

There are around 30 volunteers from Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung in the translation team. Lecturer Hsiu-Hsu Lin specialized in the linguistics at the Department of Applied English of Chaoyang University of Technology, Taichung, also participated in the translation team, which truly enhanced Yi-Xuan Li’s confidence a lot.

Hsiu-Hsu Lin, who came to Hualien Jing Si Hall for the first time, said, “Interpretation is a highly difficult profession. It can train oneself to be mindful and concentrated. Usually, it requires at least two interpreters to work together. They should have tacit understanding. If one interpreter gets stuck during interpretation, the other must be able to take over immediately. There is no time for them to look up the data. As for written translators, they have time to ponder and consider the wording, which shall be much easier than doing simultaneous interpretation,” Lin said. He further mentioned that some people would think a person who can speak foreign languages can do translating work. However, it is a misunderstanding. With text of different fields, the degree of difficulty varies as well. For example, in translating articles about Tzu Chi, the difficulty lies in that there are many terms of Buddhism. Even so, Hsiu-Hsu Lin considers learning as a mission to him as a teacher. To Yi-Xuan Lin is exactly a role model who always seizes every opportunity to learn, which is extremely touching and admiring.

Lecturer Hsiu-Hsu Lin of the Department of Applied English, Chaoyang University of Technology, specializing in linguistics, said humbly: “I like to do translation work. It is a highly difficult profession. It can train oneself to be mindful and concentrated. I’m here for learning. For me, learning is a mission as a teacher.” Photographed by Hong-Wen Li

Yi-Xuan Li expressed that for the foreign language translating volunteers, the TIMA Convention is an extraordinary opportunity to improve themselves as the convention is full of challenges.
Dong-An Wang, who is the leader of interpretation team, requested members of interpretation to join study groups. If there is member unable to attend the study group, he responded: "Are you joking? Right now we no longer have the luxury for jokes. Since you’ve promised, please come."

Yi-Xuan Li is grateful for Dong-An Wang’s mindfulness, team members’ willingness to take responsibility, as well as the encouragement from the senior volunteers. Especially the eighty-year-old senior volunteer, Xian-Shi Tien, treats everyone as his own children, which is really heart-warming. “In the past, we interpret simply sentence by sentence; today’s young people is much more capable, they can even interpret the lectures in real time," said Xian-Shi Tien, who’s proficient in Japanese.

Improve Ourselves through Experiences

Xian-Shi Tien keeps the words of Master Cheng Yen in mind: "to teach one’s own children with a Bodhisattva heart, and guide the Tzu Chi collegiate volunteers with a Mother’s heart." He had been accompanying the collegiate volunteers for over twenty years with such loving heart. With the same spirit, he accompanies the members of Taichung Foreign Language Team, which was established for just more than a year.

What’s more, in addition to “Dad Tian,” the members of Taipei Foreign Language Team also supported Li. For the past twenty-five years, the translation work for all the large international camps is responsible by Foreign Language Team in Taipei. Qi-Zhi Shih, the leader of Foreign Language Team, encouraged the members of Taichung Foreign Language Team with his abundant experiences.

Xian-Shi Tien, also known as “Dad Tien,” has worked with the collegiate volunteers for over twenty years with a loving heart. With the same spirit, he accompanies the members of Taichung Foreign Language Team, which was established for just more than a year. Though Tien didn’t do translating, he invites people to join the foreign language team in hope that there will be talents of multi-languages. Photographed by Wen-Dao Yang

Since August, they’ve spent two months preparing for the translating work. Yi-Xuan Li is grateful that she can spend most of her time doing Tzu Chi’s work. She said repentantly, "In the past I always felt others were giving trials to me. Now I think it is me who give trails to others." Inspired by what Master Cheng Yen and Dr. Sen-Jia Li have done. Yi-Xuan Li hopes she can face challenges happily and not be stubborn. She further made a vow to enhance the translating quality of Taichung Foreign Language Team, and let Master Cheng Yen see its growth.