Shortcomings of (Untrained) Native Translators

Should translations be done exclusively by native speakers of the target (“into”) language? This question has recently come up in several publications. The language industry and training programs in the US predominantly answer in the affirmative. I have speculated about some possible reasons for this attitude. A recent article in the American Translators Association (ATA)Continue reading “Shortcomings of (Untrained) Native Translators”

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.

March Issue: Difficulties of Audio Transcription and Translation

I have recently done a project where I had to translate from English into Russian an interview for a watchmaking magazine that was only available as an audio. Needless to say, this type of assignment is much more involved and time-consuming than a translation of the same subject matter and level of linguistic difficulty. HereContinue reading “March Issue: Difficulties of Audio Transcription and Translation”

January Issue: Standards for Scholarly Publications

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 aContinue reading “January Issue: Standards for Scholarly Publications”

Translating Security Questions

Security questions at An important issue to take into account for localizing websites is that of security questions. In my experience of coming across these questions, as a Russian-bred person, I often discovered that most of them did not apply to me. Some of the popular security question on US websites run along theContinue reading “Translating Security Questions”

Translator vs Interpreter

I have often heard colleagues complain about the ignorance of the general public in the USA as to the difference between translating and interpreting. As my professor Dr. Geoffrey Koby said, mimicking your average layperson, “Translator? Isn’t that the person behind the politicians on TV?” In English, especially in the US, the relationship between theContinue reading “Translator vs Interpreter”

Things people just don’t say outside Russia

This post first appeared on my blog about Russia: Now that I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Translation (see my translation-related blog for more information), I often think about similar things people describe using totally different expressions that are not, strictly speaking, translations of each other. Say, one of my English students asked meContinue reading “Things people just don’t say outside Russia”