As part of my Master’s in Translation training, I am now writing my Case Study, a final paper required to complete the program. For this project, I need to translate a 500-word text and provide an analysis discussing the decisions I made in the translation process.
For my Case Study, I will be translating a journal article “Быть или не быть гей-прайду: опыт двух столиц” (English working title “To Be or Not To Be for a Gay Pride Parade: The Experience of Moscow and St. Petersburg”). This article appeared in the Gender Studies Journal published in Ukraine in the Russian language.
As you may have gathered from the title, the article talks about the recent developments in gay activism in Russia, the attempts to hold a gay pride parade, and the reaction of the authorities to these attempts. While the subject matter is fairly involved and worthy of discussion, I would like to concentrate on the format and style of this article as an indicator of the state of scholarship in the Russian-speaking realm.
Those of you who have studied or done research in the United States–and perhaps, in Western European countries, too–are probably familiar with the standards of scholarship there. Every reference has to be properly attributed and documented. There are well-developed style guides for in-text citations and bibliographies.
Some of the problems I have encountered while translating stemmed from the lack of an equally-developed system in Russian scholarly circles. Some of the manifestations of less rigorous standards were misspellings of names (Volker Berk instead of Volker Beck), factual errors (the Australian/New Zealander scholar Annamarie Jagose is called an American scholar), improperly documented citations, and excessive quoting. To bring the otherwise very well-written article to the standards of American scholarship, the translator needs to address these issues. One the positive side, these discrepancies give me plenty to write about in my analysis.