From an impassioned Poetry Foundation article on translation by Linh Dinh:
One of the defining figures of Vietnamese literature, Phạm Quỳnh helped to modernize the language, encouraged the writing of short stories and novels, and the anthologizing of folk poetry. Admiring the logic and clarity of Western thinking, he felt that Vietnamese needed to learn from it, but that they also needed to identify and protect their distinctiveness. In 1922, he wrote about Vietnamese folk poetry, ca dao: “Even though our oral literature has not been recorded in any book, I will insist that it is a very rich one, richer, perhaps, than any other country. [The more illiterate a population, the richer the oral tradition—L. Dinh.] Although it is not without its crudeness, this oral literature is also profoundly resonant; one can say that the wisdom, morals, and aesthetics of our common folks are all contained within these idioms.” In short, don’t be half-Westernized and half-Vietnamese, one must become an Uber-Westernized Uber-Vietnamese. Warning Vietnamese writers against composing in French, Phạm Quỳnh wrote: “In borrowing someone’s language, you are also borrowing his ideas, literary techniques—even his emotions and customs.” After centuries of writing in Chinese, the Vietnamese had produced no Li Po, he pointed out, and writing in French, it is unlikely that they will ever produce a Victor Hugo or a Anatole France. After reading a story in French, Phạm Quỳnh suggested as an exercise, Try retelling it to one’s wife in Vietnamese.