HCMC – Vietnam is facing a shortage of skilled interpreters of Korean, Japanese and Chinese given the increasing presence of businesses from these countries in Vietnam in recent years, heard a roundtable organized in HCMC on November 1 by the Saigon Times Group and RMIT University Vietnam.
Vo Thi Bich Thuy, head of the Recruitment and Human Resources Consulting Department of ManPower Vietnam, said the labour market cannot meet the demand for interpreters of Korean, Japanese and Mandarin.
Samsung Vietnam asked Manpower to look for 100 Korean-Vietnamese interpreters, Thuy said, adding the South Korean company required candidates to have a good command of Korean and bachelor degrees.
“After five months, we were able to meet half of Samsung’s demand,” Thuy said. Samsung then relaxed its requirements, saying finding candidates without bachelor degrees would be fine.
Thuy’s company has also difficulty seeking interpreters of Japanese and Mandarin for its customers.
Nguyen Vu Linh, managing director of Innotech Vietnam Corporation, an information technology company, shared the same view, saying Innotech is struggling to find Japanese-speaking interpreters, engineers and managers.
“We have had to recruit Japanese for the post of sales manager because it’s hard to find Vietnamese candidates who are proficient in both Japanese and information technology,” Linh said.
Data of Manpower shows that a few universities in HCMC have Korean language programs, such as the HCMC University of Pedagogy and the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities. Their total annual enrollment is nearly 300 students for the Korean language program. The total enrollment for students studying Japanese and Mandarin at universities in the city is about 300 and 500 respectively.
Tran Anh Tuan, deputy director of the HCMC Center for Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labor Market Information under the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the demand for interpreters has risen as more foreign enterprises have set up shop in Vietnam and more domestic enterprises have invested in foreign countries.
Jake Heinrich, head of the School of Languages & English at RMIT University Vietnam, said in addition to the proficiency in foreign languages, educational institutions should equip students with knowledge of foreign cultures because this is what multinationals need.