The language professor is best known in Vietnam for his translation of the late president Ho Chi Minh’s famous poem collection, “Nhat ky trong tu” (Prison Diary), in 1980 into Czech language.
The book was published in the then – Czechoslovakia in 1985.
Having made more than 50 trips from Czech to Vietnam in the past 50 years, he used to be an interpreter for President Ho himself and was involved in many cultural exchange projects between the two countries.
Back in his country, he has been actively involved in teaching Czech to new Vietnamese immigrants and Vietnamese to the second generation Vietnamese who are born and raised there.
Vasiljev said apart from Czech and English, Vietnamese was his most favorite language although he also speaks Russian, French, Korean, Chinese, German and others.
“I like Hanoi-style stir-fried pho, fried spring rolls, mam tom [shrimp paste] and tiet canh [a tradition blood dish],” he said with a smile betraying his admiration for the local food.
The linguist’s latest book, “A life with multi-languages,” concluding his 50 years of studying languages, including Vietnamese, will be published in Czech next week.
“I hope to translate it to Vietnamese, English and other language as well,” he said.