Translation of “The Artist” in Astana

Snejana Skakovskaya translator in astanaLast week the award-winning movie “The Artist” premiered in Astana and I was asked to translate it. Those who are familiar with the movie might raise their eyebrows – what’s there to translate in a silent movie? Well, there are subtitles here and there and it was my job to translate them while the movie was being shown to the audience. Ambassadors and other representatives of the international community of Astana showed up in the cinema and that is why the translation from Russian to English was needed.

As easy as it may sound, it was not easy at all: first of all, subtitles were shown for a fraction of a second so I had to read and translate with the speed of light. Secondly, it is a movie, not a contract where the translation is very dry and straight to the point. If an actor shouts (silently) “Oh my God”, I can’t simply render his words into another language; I need to act, too. At least a bit.

It was a quite unusual yet very interesting experience for me; I had to use all my translation skills: always be ready in case a new line of subtitles appears on the screen, read fast, think even faster and translate in a way that is stylistically relevant to the scene in question. Quite a challenge but a fun one!

Posted on February 7th, 2012