The Difficulties Inherent in Translating from Russian

February 6, 2017by silk-r0

Obstacles Encountered When Translating from Russian 

In the translation process, there are always difficulties in equivalence that must be addressed, especially when we are talking about translating from Russian. In fact,translating from Russian is unique in that it presents obstacles that can interfere with the ability to find the exact English-language wording.   The first major difference that causes translation problems when translating from Russian is the absence of articles in Russian. There are no words for “a”, “an” or “the”. So, when we see the Russian original text “man is driving car”, it’s hard to tell if it is “a man”, “the man”, “a car” or “the car”. Another problem is that some Russian words can simply not be translated into English, as they may describe concepts or feelings that for which we don’t have words in English; for example, the word “toska” has no single word in English that renders all the shades of meaning of the one word “toska”. At its deepest and most painful, it denotes a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. The second problem in translating from Russian is Russian orthography. For example, although punctuation is crucial to even basic written literacy in any European language, the Russian language is different in that it has speech marks. Sometimes the English speech marks “…” become «…» in a Russian printed text.

To overcome these obstacles, Russian translators should follow some basic rules so as to produce professional translations.

1-Translate the meaning, not the words.

2-Rely on your wits and savvy – this can prove to be helpful when translating a difficult text.

3-Ask a native speaker to proofread your translation so that it sounds natural.

4-Never accept a project which you know is not within your abilities.

5-Develop your skills to the best of your ability.