Molecular Cell Biology is a leading undergraduate and graduate textbook written by Professor Harvey Lodish and other world-class scientists. The book presents concise, up-to-date information about how cells function at the molecular level. It integrates key concepts in Cell Biology, genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and developmental biology and contains many examples from medicine, biotechnology, and plant biology. The book also contains detailed explanations of the methods and techniques used to arrive at these insights; thus students can master the technologies needed for delving even deeper into these active fields of research.
The book has been used extensively by both college students as well as professional scientists. Due to its popularity, Molecular Cell Biology has been translated into 11 languages; we want to translate the recent 7th edition into Vietnamese. “We want to get this book into the hands of as many students as possible throughout the world,” wrote Professor Lodish. “Vietnam is a rapidly developing country of 90 million, with multiple ethnic minorities, a rich culture, a long history, and many talented students who are eager to contribute to science and to the economy of Vietnam and other nations.”
Unfortunately university education in Vietnam is still very poor due to the lack of updated materials and laboratory facilities. Most science textbooks in Vietnamese, especially in biology, are very outdated and poorly illustrated; students use translated or partly translated textbooks that were published 10 to 30 years ago. Most students are not able to read English efficiently and do not have access to good ebooks and journals. The translation of English textbooks into Vietnamese not only make the books more accessible to native readers, but also contributes to building the lexicon of a fast expanding field such as molecular and cellular biology. “To keep the costs down, the authors and the translators will not take any royalties from this translation” said Prof. Lodish. “It is essential that talented science students everywhere receive the best fundamental training and learn about the latest discoveries so that they in turn can make new discoveries and develop new technologies for the benefit of us all.”
Why we translate the book Molecular Cell Biology?
We are a group of postdoctoral fellows and students who grew up in Vietnam and have been overseas for study and training in the Biological Sciences, fluent in both Vietnamese and English. We volunteered to translate the book Molecular Cell Biology because we recognized the need to stimulate the development of science education in Vietnam and wish to help biology students as well as scientists in our country to get access the wonderful material in this book.
With guidance and sponsorship from Prof. Lodish, we were able to obtain the right to translate the 6th edition (2007) of Molecular Cell Biology. We divided the book into 5 volumes. Working with the Tre publishing house in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, we printed in 2010 the first pilot volume with 3 chapters. These first chapters of the book were translated by two members of the group, Dr. Hung Nguyen, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Strasbourg, France and Luong Nguyen, a Ph.D. student at Chonbuk National University in Korea, with advice from Prof. Lodish and a number of professors in Vietnam. The translation was edited and formatted by our editor, Nhi Vu, at the Tre publishing house. The translated book was printed in a smaller size than the original English version but the format was kept the same.
The first volume of Molecular Cell Biology was warmly welcomed by Vietnamese readers, and especially cherished by biology lecturers and students in Vietnam. It is considered the best Biology textbook currently published in the country. Several universities in Vietnam plan to introduce this book into their curriculum, and they hope and expect us to translate and print the remainder of the book using the 7th edition.
The 7th edition of Molecular Cell Biology was published last year in the U.S., with a lot of new discoveries and new methods taken from the latest research literature. The book was also rewritten with increased clarity and improved pedagogy. Hence, we would like to translate this new edition, instead of the 6th edition, to bring the most updated material to our Vietnamese readers.
The 7th edition will be translated by Dr. Hung Nguyen and Luong Nguyen as well by as two new members of the group, Dr. Ngoc Tran – a Research Associate at Harvard Medical School, Diu Nguyen – a PhD student at the University of Oxford, UK, and Thuy Tran – a PhD student at the University of California San Diego. Despite differences in location and schedules, the group works very closely together with almost daily discussions on an online forum to ensure that the translation is consistent and all that all of the terminologies are uniform. An additional member of the group, Dr. Minh Le – a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School – coordinates the teamwork, leads the communication of the group with the authors and the publishers and takes care of the funding for the whole project. All the members of the group work on a volunteer basis, and we will continue to get advice from Prof. Lodish and other experts in the field to make sure that the scientific contents of the book are correctly translated.
Why do we need help and how can you support us?
Since the first volume of Molecular Cell Biology was published in Vietnam, we ran into an unanticipated financial crisis due to the cost of color printing.We tried our best to keep the price of the book very low (US$4.50 per copy) to make it affordable to young students in Vietnam. But it appeared that this price was still too high for most college students in our country. Thus the sale of the first volume could hardly cover the expenses for production and distribution.
This was probably the first time in Vietnam that a foreign textbook was translated and printed in a format that is faithfully to the original copy. In particular, we retained the full color of all of the illustrations as color was essential to convey their full meaning to the readers. These financial issues forced a halt in the translation for two years, and in the meantime a new edition of the book appeared. For the 7th edition, we are required by Freeman, the U.S. publisher of the book, to pay for their royalties and for photocopy rights held by others of ~$3,000.
We hope you will enable the continuation of our project by backing us on Kickstarter. The money raised through Kickstarter will go towards paying these publishing costs for the 7th edition. We also hope to raise money beyond this target to assist the production expenses and keep the book price as low as possible for students in Vietnam.
With your support, we will start the translation of the 7th edition from chapter 4 as soon as possible. We plan to print the second volume of the book (chapters 4 - 8) by Mar 2014 and one additional volume every six months after that.
We will send you our most sincere thanks through the rewards (as listed on the right). All of the postcards signed by Prof. Lodish (for contributors of $50 or more) and the English language 7th edition with Prof. Lodish’s autograph (for backers of $500 or more) will be sent by June 2013. All who contribute $100 or more will receive copies of two or five volumes as soon as they are printed.
Risks and challenges
Our first challenge is to raise enough funds for the project. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. It is your support that will determine if we can reach our goal by the deadline (your credit cards are charged only if that happens). Our success is in your hands!
Our second challenge is to produce the translated books of the highest quality and on the targeted schedule. All the members of the group and the Tre publishing house are committed to work quickly and with the highest professional standards.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
We will group the backers by the levels of donation (same as for the rewards) and list their names, titles and institutions in the acknowledgement part of volume 2.
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