Tu Ha An - Dreamlike & Multicultural Illustration

Am I afraid of making mistakes when blogging in three languages?

There must be some mistakes in this article!

This March 2024, as I write these lines, my professional life is a race against time. Despite the hectic pace and stress, I refuse to miss our fortnightly rendez-vous. So, here’s a short, light, familiar article to refresh your day.

It has been a long time since I’ve written my blog posts on a just-in-time basis like this month, drafting all three versions in French, English and Vietnamese the day before (and the day of) publication. Of course, this meant no time for proofreading and corrections from my editors. (You may have noticed at the beginning of most of the articles on this blog the mention of the corresponding editor in each language).

One question some readers often ask me, and I’ve asked it myself: am I afraid of making mistakes, whether in spelling or grammar, in French, English or Vietnamese, when publishing my articles?

Yes, of course I was afraid of making mistakes.

The honest answer? Before I launched this blog, and even during the first few months, yes, I had this apprehension.

I was afraid of comments like:

“How come your French is so bad when you’ve been in France for over 10 years?”

“You’ve lost your roots, you’ve forgotten Vietnamese, shame on you!”

“You’re very brave to attempt a blog in English with such a mediocre level!”

If this post is one of the first you’ve read on my blog, allow me to share with you a glimpse of my linguistic background:

I’m Vietnamese. I lived in Vietnam for the first 17 years of my life. Although I speak Vietnamese without an accent, my level in this language is generally limited to that of a high school student and informal everyday discussions.

As for English, I first learned it during my university studies in France. Imagine someone with no English foundation at all, trying to express herself in a language peppered with a mixed French-Vietnamese accent!

And when it comes to French, the language I’ve been using on a daily basis for 10 years now, it’s quite a story with its ups and downs. You can find out more in the video below (this video is only avalable in French with Vietnamese substitles):

… but I’m willing to make them.

Want three more honest pieces of information?

1. If I’d waited until I was perfectly trilingual, this blog wouldn’t exist with more than 50 articles in three languages, nor YouTube videos, nor Instagram captions.

2. By seeing my mistakes, you, my readers, understand that you don’t have to be perfect to get started. You’ve been able to follow my evolution (or sometimes my regression) over time, through the different phases of my life and the subjects I’ve tackled.

3. If I’d waited until I was impeccable in my three languages, I’d never have known how caring you and my friends are. Between your private messages pointing out typos and spelling mistakes, and the meticulous work of my volunteer, then professional editors among my friends, I feel supported every step of the way.

Of course, it’s undeniable that we have to do our best and strive to improve every day. Reducing mistakes is certainly a laudable goal.

However, I must say that linguistic imperfection has never hindered the growth of this blog. The blog has given me the opportunity to interview illustrators I’ve long admired for a sophisticated series such as Illustrator: the profession, to converse with editors at publishing houses, and above all, to forge a special bond with you, dear reader.

This article is a reminder to myself and to all of you: imperfection is part of the journey. They are not obstacles, but rather opportunities for growth and authentic connection.

 So let’s keep moving forward, growing and learning together.

With all my gratitude,

Keep creating!

Tu Ha An

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