As each language is unique, every interpreter behind that language, equally, has a unique story to share. Welcome to The Many Faces of Languages - a forum of thoughtful sharing and discovery.

We are pleased to offer this story selected for August 2021.

Tammy N.

Story Introduction

Tammy N. is a Vietnamese interpreter who works with CanTalk. Born in Canada to parents of refugees who arrived in the country from Vietnam, Tammy believes that Canada’s multiculturalism is one of the most beautiful aspects about this land. As a person who is a visible minority, she’s been asked where she’s “actually” from. Tammy has discovered a personal answer to that question – she’s enraptured by both her Vietnamese and Canadian cultures.

Tammy's Story


I was born and raised in Canada as a daughter of refugees from Vietnam. As I grew up here in the “true North, strong and free”, I found that multiculturalism is one of the most beautiful things about Canada. This sense of diversity has led me to become the interpreter that I am today. Some have questioned my identity and asked where I am “actually” from, but the truth is plain and simple. I am from Canada.

Growing up as a Canadian, I was able to enrich myself in both the Anglophone/Francophone culture as well as my Vietnamese roots. I remember spending every Tết (Lunar New Year) tasting the beautiful snowflakes while wearing my áo dài (Vietnamese traditional dress). Being able to celebrate two New Year’s is also always a plus! I believe that being able to have this sense of diversity in one’s identity is definitely a privilege and is what makes being a Canadian so special. As I entered university and  majored in French linguistics and history, I found that speaking multiple languages became beneficial to my learning.

I also wanted to do something more with what I learned in the lecture halls of U of T. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more patients were in need of medical care throughout the country, which meant that more interpreters were also needed to assist patients. I then set out on taking this humble role that simultaneously allowed me to further enrich myself in my Vietnamese roots. I chose CanTalk, for its values and environment were welcoming and positive towards everyone. On some days, the work was definitely intensive, but extremely rewarding at the end of the day. Being able to meet and help so many people from all walks of life makes working as an interpreter one of the best jobs in the world. I can’t wait to continue my journey here at CanTalk!

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