"I want to be a police officer."
Translation:Tôi muốn làm cảnh sát.
The translation given was something I'd never yet encountered: Tôi muốn làm công an. What is công an?
The difference between cảnh sát công an is that the former is a branch of the latter, at least from what I gather within Vietnam (e.g. the police are part of the security forces). Overseas Vietnamese who grew up during the old Southern regime would only ever use cảnh sát to mean police while công an is seen as a communist attachment.
Up to this point, it was hammered in my brain to have a "một" for the article "a", now this is the second sentence where it is omitted. Why?
And my second why is why not "trở thành" rather than "làm"? My inquiries and questions will help me learn but I doubt that is the intent of the inconsistencies. Please let me know if I am off base in my thinking here.
Edit: I grabbed a passing native speaker and read the sentence to her and asked for a translation: "I want to become a police officer." "trở thành" and "làm" apparently equivalent. "Một" not needed but could be. I am still a tad confused. Maybe it will sink in my thick melon with further practice.
I'm just learning Vietnamese but here's what I think is going on here.
In a lot of languages you don't need an article with professions in sentences like "I am teacher. You are police officer." (But you still use articles in other contexts, like "A police officer saw me run the red light.")
I think làm is a special verb meaning something like "to work as" or maybe "to start working as." Again, I'd try using làm with professions.
In general, don't get discouraged. No language will correspond perfectly with English. Just because we use an article in this context in English doesn't mean there's a word there in Vietnamese, and vice-versa. This is what makes language learning hard: you have to learn the natural (correct) way to express each idea, and it's different from language to language. And unfortunately, no course can teach us every rule.
Police officer in earlier question was 'canh sat' (which is also just 'police' at the beginning of this section). Can duolingo please sort these inconsistencies out.
Why does this sentence use "làm" but the translation for "my older brother is a secretary" is "anh trai của tôi LÀ thư ký"?
I think là here would indicate more "I wish I were a police officer", whereas the sentence we have indicates more a desire to become (i.e. to be made, làm) a police officer.
Then why not 'trở thành' instead of 'làm'? I agree with Burento's question.
Tôi muốn làm cảnh sát = I want to be a police officer/I want to work as a police officer.
Làm is fine, in Cantonese we say: Ngor(Tôi) seung(muốn) zou(làm) kung on(công viên / cảnh sát) . :)