Demystifying Russian Names

Russian naming conventions may be confusing to people outside the region, and this gets compounded when people bearing these names come to the US. In this post, I will look at some sources of potential misunderstanding arising from the use of names in the Russian language—in but not limited to the country of Russia and by but not limited to ethnic Russians.

What’s Wrong with Using Child Interpreters?

While it may be harmless or even helpful for the family in many everyday situations, I would warn against relying on child interpreters in high-stakes situations that may have financial, legal, or medical consequences.

Translation Ethics Case Study: Dating Article

Russian feminist Nastya Krasilnikova recently came across a sexist article in the Russian version of GQ. However, following the link to the American magazine where this article first appeared, Nastya discovered that the author was a woman. It appears that many points in the translation have been changed beyond simple cultural adaptation.

Demand for Russian Outside US-Russia Relations

I am sometimes asked how the interactions between Russia and the US will affect the demand for Russian translation and interpreting. The political climate certainly impacts language services by affecting trade and international cooperation. However, English and Russian are not the exclusive purview of Russia and the US. Here are some areas where Russian is needed independently of … Continue reading Demand for Russian Outside US-Russia Relations

Guilty By Association: When Idiomatic Translation Hurts Your Message

One of the benchmarks of a good translation is whether it sounds "natural" or "flows." An important exception to this rule is when the "natural," idiomatic expression has negative connotations in that language. Such cases may warrant a departure from the choices made in the original text.

Are Your Corporate Materials Localization-Ready?

US-headquartered corporations will often want to expand their operations overseas. At the same time, few of them internationalize their corporate communications and training materials. In other words, the original content was authored with the US in mind, and when the company decides to publish this content abroad -- to localize it for other markets -- … Continue reading Are Your Corporate Materials Localization-Ready?

Three Things Media Gets Wrong About Interpreting

There is rarely a political drama, sci-fi story, or fantasy saga that does not involve communication across languages. It is, therefore, fair to say the general public is aware of interpreting as a profession. However, these fictional tales are often written by people not intimately familiar with language industry; nor is interpreting usually central to the story. … Continue reading Three Things Media Gets Wrong About Interpreting

Three False Assumpions About Loanwords in Russian

We know that languages borrow words for new technology or occupations. We know that a lot of these words come from English. It is easy to assume, then, that all cutting-edge technology must have originated in the English-speaking world and was exported everywhere else, along with its nomenclature. While it is partly true in the … Continue reading Three False Assumpions About Loanwords in Russian