Le Xuan Giang, a veteran translator of Hungarian literature into Vietnamese, has been awarded the Gold Cross Medal, one of Hungary 's highest honours.

Giang was the only foreigner among 54 recipients of the medal this year in the fields of culture, education, health and science, and he became the first Vietnamese to win the honour.

Returning to Hungary after 24 years in order to accept the medal, Giang said he didn't feel strange because this beloved country has become a part of his life.

Giang has translated into Vietnamese such Hungarian works as The Eghe Stars by Gardonyi Geza, which became a bestseller in Vietnam in 1972. In subsequent years, he successfully translated dozens of works of classic and modern Hungarian literature.

Giang was born in the central province of Ha Tinh in 1937, and went to Hungary in 1956 to study at the Budapest University of Technology. He returned to Vietnam and worked as an engineer, but his love for literature drove him to undertake the translation of Hungarian books into Vietnamese.

The Hungarian Government has highly appreciated Giang's tireless and effective contribution in spreading Hungarian culture in Vietnam , said Hungarian Ambassador to Vietnam Vizi Laszlo.

In granting the medal, Hungary also wished to encourage young translators continue Giang's work, Laszlo said. /.