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 theContinue reading “Three False Assumpions About Loanwords in Russian”

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 toContinue reading “Common US Tropes That Won’t Work For a Russian Audience”

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 previousContinue reading “Unquestioned Assumptions About Translation”

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 haveContinue reading “Culture-relative priorities in healthcare”

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 ofContinue reading “Vague Job Titles — Wider Reach or Lack of Substance?”

US Perceptions of Language Learning

Originally posted on Strictly Personal:
image by m0php A question I’ve heard a lot in the US is “How long have you been here?” The answer currently stands at 2.5 years and counting, and the reaction has often been “But your English is so good!” The degree of amazement is usually inversely proportionate to the…

Latin Script in Russia

I have heard a few people asking the same question about familiarity with the Latin script in Russia, so I decided this is worth addressing. An American technical writer once asked me if the Latin script in “Кнопка Shift” (“the Shift button”) was as unintelligible to Russians as “кнопка” was to Americans. For anyone whoContinue reading “Latin Script in Russia”

Russian Dialects

Unlike Spanish translators, who struggle to make their translation usable in multiple Spanish-speaking areas, Russian translators don’t really have to worry about locales. Are there regional dialects in Russia? Most academic resources, like this one, will tell you there are two (or three) main Russian dialects, the most prominent difference being pronunciation. However, the extent ofContinue reading “Russian Dialects”

February Issue: Naïve Comments About Russian

Having been exposed to several languages for most of my life–even though I was far from fluent in most of them–I am sometimes amused by the questions I get about Russian. I do not mean to be judgmental as I fully understand that a person who has never been exposed to a non-Latin-script language or,Continue reading “February Issue: Naïve Comments About Russian”