This first thing I need to do before anything else, is get a good translator to help me. My Khmer is very basic and although I can get by at the market and around town, its not enough for talking to people in government offices or making inquiries at factories.
So the search for a translator begins!
I decided that it would be best, most appropriate really, to hire a female translator since I’d like the person involved to take up knitting in order to be able to translate patterns later on. Doing that will be impossible without knowing how to work with two sticks and a string and I really don’t think there are too many Cambodian men willing to assault their masculinity by learning to knit. I was quite clear in the ad, stating that we are looking for a part-time female translator. Despite this, no less than 5 men have applied asking “is it ok that I am male?”
Through the interview process I met a lot of interesting women, some with great English but most already working full time and hoping that the part time position could be done in the evenings and weekends. I was almost in despair when I finally interviewed the perfect candidate. Great English, free during the week and genuinely more interested in part time work in order to be able to spend more time with her son and who really understood what I was trying to do. As an added bonus, she is a hibernating knitter. Not for long!