Language and Society, Russian

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

Language and Society, Translation Theory and Practice

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.

Language and Society, Translation Theory and Practice

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?

Language and Society, Translation Industry

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

Language and Society, Russian

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

Language and Society

Common US Tropes That Won’t Work For a Russian Audience

Operative writing (think calls to action) is full of metaphors and imagery meant to spur the audience into action. Authors writing for a US audience will naturally use tropes familiar to people in the US. However, this may become problematic if the product ends up being translated and used somewhere else. I would like to… Continue reading Common US Tropes That Won’t Work For a Russian Audience

Language and Society, Translation Theory and Practice

Unquestioned Assumptions About Translation

Encountering translation both professionally and casually, as a consumer, I can't help noticing certain assumptions on which people operate when ordering, evaluating, and sometimes even performing translation. I will list some of them here in the order of apparent complexity. In other words, while each subsequent attitude may look like a solution to the previous… Continue reading Unquestioned Assumptions About Translation

Language and Society

Culture-relative priorities in healthcare

It has become commonplace to point out that translators and interpreters not only re-code the message in a different language, but also negotiate cultures. However, concrete examples may demonstrate that this is far from a pretty turn of phrase, even in such seemingly objective and evidence-based disciplines as life sciences. Medical translators and interpreters have… Continue reading Culture-relative priorities in healthcare

Language and Society

Vague Job Titles — Wider Reach or Lack of Substance?

One thing I noticed in US business communication is the frequent use of superordinate terms in job titles. For example, instead of saying "translator" or "interpreter," people may say "linguist." Similarly, "educator" is used to mean "teacher" and so on and so forth. I see several problems with this usage. First of all, some of… Continue reading Vague Job Titles — Wider Reach or Lack of Substance?