You are currently browsing the archives for the About Kazakhstan category.

Russian Interpreter in Astana for ALSTOM

January 11th, 2011

Since April I’ve been involved in two projects of ALSTOM TRANSPORT in Kazakhstan. These are two strategic projects: delivery of electric locomotive and construction of tramway line in Astana. I work mostly as a technical Russian-English translator, sometimes also as a Russian-French translator since ALSTOM is a French company.

The projects are very big so we had several working groups: technical, legal, financial. I mostly work in a technical group where we talk about electric locomotive manufacturing process, about its parameters and technical description. At the beginning I didn’t know much about „locos“ – as we call electric locomotives, I saw no difference between BoBo, double BoBo and CoCo locomotives, but step by step I was getting more and more into it. Now I know why it is that important for a locomotive to have an unbalanced lateral acceleration up to 1.0 m/s2 and what impact it has on the rails and on the locomotive bogie.

But it’s not always the technicians that I translate. Sometimes we have a hectic schedule and after interpreting at the technical meeting, I have to run to a finanical one, where specialists discuss cash flow, overheads and structure of Joint Venture. I also became familiar with the notions such as P&L, CAPEX and OPEX. I might also translate at a legal meetings where I deal with words as precedent conditions, preemptive right and fundamental breach.

Everybody involved in the project worked quite hard, often without days-off and working long hours but it was worth it – on the 27th of October, 2010 in Paris there was signed the Contract by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the President of France. Now the project is officially launched which means we have more work ahead!

Simultaneous translation at the World Forum of Spiritual Culture

November 9th, 2010

I worked as a simultaneous translator at the World forum of spiritual culture which gathered people from all over the world in Astana on the 18th -20th of October, 2010.

Simultaneous translation is known as the most difficult type of translation since it is done at the same time as the speech itself. Being one of the two simultaneous translators who are located in the booth at the end of a conference room, I enter the booth, put a headset on, check a microphone, three, two, one, go: „Dear ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world forum of spiritual culture!“. My work day starts.

I translated both from Russian into English and from English into Russian. The reports that were read mostly touched upon the concepts such as moral responsibility,power and conscience, morality and its values.
There were several difficulties connected to the translation: first of all, all the reports were read, which means that the speed was significant. Taking into account that translators had no reports at all, this was quite a challenge. Some accents also caused troubles: not only native speakers were present, so sometimes it really took some moments to get a speaker. And as a simultaneous translator you simply don’t have those moments. On the other hand, translating from Russian into English was quite easy and I would even say relaxing. The big advantage of the simultaneous translation is that there is no need to memorize anything as a translator is only 2-3 words behind a speaker. Another important thing is that the translators (who always work in pair) change every 15 minutes, that also gives some time for recovery. Report after report, we made it to the lunch break and a couple of hours later to the end of the forum.

In other words, simultaneous translation is no doubt a challenge but it is also a pleasure when you realize that the audience is satisfied with what it has been hearing in the headphones for the whole day :)

Working for Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine

September 30th, 2010

The other day I received a request for interpreting services for the interview with the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Karim Massimov. I was contacted by Fabio Ferlito, the Project Development Director of Business Focus, the London based communication agency aiming to publish a report on Kazakhstan’s growing economy in Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine.

English russian translation for Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

We met with Fabio a couple of hours before the interview so that he could give me more information regarding the magazine and the interview itself. Having done so, we went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we were then accompanied to the Government House where the interview was held.

The interview started and it turned out that the Prime Minister spoke perfect English so there was not much for me to do. I will not say what were the Prime Minister’s answers because this should be read on the pages of the Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine :) But this was not the end of the day, the interview was followed by another meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also by a number of interviews with the Cabinet of Ministers which were still to be arranged.

I worked some more days with Fabio, more as an English speaking assistant rather then interpreter. I made some calls on his behalf, searched for the information that was only available in Russian, communicated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to arrange visa issues, etc.

Fabio’s visit to Kazakhstan (first visit but hopefully not the last one) coincided with the Astana Day which is July, 6th , so we had a chance to participate in this huge celebration with lots of people, music, light, shashlyk and overall fun.

Once the first steps were taken, Fabio left Kazakhstan and his colleagues came here to continue his work on the project which will probably last for a couple of months. Hopefully soon all those 4,7 million people that read BusinessWeek worldwide will be able to find out more about our country, its economy, political policy and reach resourses.

Translation at the Palace of President

July 19th, 2010

In the last couple of days I translated for His Excellency Ambassador of Philippines Jesus Yabes who came to Kazakhstan to present credentials to His Excellency State Secretary Kanat Saudabaev.

Jesus Yabes & State Secretary Kanat Saudabaev, Palace of President

Ambassador of Philippines Jesus Yabes & State Secretary Kanat Saudabaev, Palace of President

Ambassador Philippines Jesus Yabes & State Secretary Kanat Saudabaev

State Secretary Kanat Saudabaev (right) & Ambassador of Philippines Jesus Yabes

On the first day, I met with the Ambassador and with Mr. Demdem, Third Secretary and Vice Consul. We went on a city tour. For me, it was a usual thing to do—to go on excursions—but it was my first time to be a tour guide myself. We drove around the new part of the city, stopped by the Ak Orda (Presidential Palace), passed by Baiterek, Han Shatyr and other sights in Astana. We also went to the Catholic Church and attended Mass.

The following day, we were invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I translated for the Chief of Protocol, who instructed Mr.Yabes, as well as three other Ambassadors, regarding how the ceremony of presenting the credentials would be conducted. Then, we met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and discussed relations between Kazakhstan and the Philippines.

On the 22d of June, we also went to the Ministry and, from there, we drove to Ak Orda, the Presidential Palace. The ceremony started. The Ambassadors, accompanied by their wives or consuls, were invited one by one to present their credentials. Having done this, His Excellency Mr. Yabes attended a bilateral meeting with Mr. Saudabaev, where I had the pleasure of translating from English to Russian and from Russian to English. This was followed by a press-conference. Mr. Yabes delivered a speech and I translated again.

I felt honored to have the opportunity to meet with and to translate for His Excellency Ambassador Jesus Yabes, it was also very nice to meet the same people at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with whom I had the pleasure of working before during the NATO Security Forum and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions last summer. I was also very glad to meet Mr. Demdem who is a professional first of all and a very nice person, too.

Interpreting services for Deutsche Welle

July 7th, 2010

On June, 5-11 I provided interpreting services to Kyle James, a journalist from Deutsche Welle who came to Astana to conduct an in-house training for Radio Astana.

Interpreting services for Deutsche Welle in Astana

Interpreting services for Deutsche Welle in Astana

We worked closely with several journalists from that radio station, the training covered producing news blocks,  as well as feature programmes.
Kyle James gave some recommendations concerning the length of a programme, the music used under the text, the programme layout, etc. He worked with each journalist individually, so the training was very successful and interesting, too. We also worked with the journalist from the Kazakh department, so I did some English-Kazakh and Kazakh-English translation. Mr. James played some programmes that he produced himself, he also talked about different ways of presenting the information, how a reporter can use natural sounds  and by doing so  make listeners follow the reporter. It turned out that the European or American styles are quite different from the one that people are used to here. Eventhough not everything of what was said could be applied to Kazakhstan, the journalists  would like to try to produce their programmes in a new way. They were genuinely interested in the training,they raised a lot of questions and asked for some advice. Also before leaving Mr. James wrote down some guidelines which I translated from English to Russian, these guidelines can help a reporter make his/her story more dynamic and thrilling.
According to what they say, the journalists have learned many things.  Me too, I’ve learned a lot in terms of radio journalism and in terms of new words, such as vox pop for example. Mr. James has left already but every now and then I put on the Radio Astana and listen to some feature programmes which have slightly changed because of the training :)

Translation services for China Investment Corporation

July 1st, 2010

Last Saturday I provided translation services for Agrocenter Astana and China Investment Corporation. We met at the Beijing Palace, where the Chinese delegation stayed, and started driving away from Astana to visit the fields.

Translation services for China Investment Corporation

The discussion started while we were driving, CEO of CIC had a Chinese-Russian translator and I translated from Russian to English for the Head of Agrocenter Astana.

The discussion touched upon some agriculture issues and as I worked as an interpreter in agriculture sphere before, the vocabulary was familiar. Also I always prepare for translation by reading some materials on the topic and by making up my own glossary. Still there were some new words, such as fallow, GRS, multch. So my glossary never stops growing!

It took us about two hours to get to the fields, our guests from China were very surprised by the fact that one can drive for hours and hours in Kazakhstan and still see steppe and fields. Kazakhstan is a huge country, that’s for sure! When we finally reached our destination, we had a short  meeting there, then we also visited a silo and a place where Chinese agriculturists lived.

This trip was very interesting for me, since I like site visits. I’ve seen  tractors with ploughs where I was able to recognize plough bolts which were the subject of my translation for Unibolt company.  It was good to see what I was talking about last month :)

Translation in Almaty for Assa Abloy Company

May 17th, 2010

From 11th to 15th May I worked as English-Russian translator in Almaty with Marwan Yaghi, Business Development Manager of Assa Abloy Company.

Translation in Almaty for Assa Abloy Company

Translation in Almaty for Assa Abloy Company

First together with Mr. Yaghi we had searched for companies interested in dealing with Assa Abloy, then we contacted these companies and arranged meetings both in Almaty and Astana, then I flew from Astana to Almaty in order to provide interpreting services at the meetings and Mr.Yaghi flew from Dubai to Almaty.

Prior to the meetings Mr. Yaghi gave me some information about the company, so I learned that it is a Swedish company that has about 60 brands and which is operating in more than 50 countries. This company specializes in door solutions, so I have dealt with words like door closers, rim locks, exit panic device, etc.

Our meetings were held in the specialized shops, so I actually saw all the locks that we were talking about. We then went to a market and gathered some very useful information from shop assistants. Next day we had a meeting with a construction company where we discussed several forms of potential partnership.

Our trip to Almaty seemed to be quite successful and hopefully there will be some more in the coming next months. This was the first time I worked in Almaty as a translator and I really liked the city which is rather different from Astana in terms of climate, people and nature.

As for the door locks, they are not just locks to me anymore – now these are rim locks and pad locks :) Being a translator really changes one’s life!

Another excursion translation in Astana

April 27th, 2010

Last Sunday I was translating the city tour in Astana, as usually I worked with the tour guide Elena and I was glad to open a new season of excursions 2010.

We started from the hotel Grand Park Esil, where our guest from UEA was located, we showed him all the sightseeing of Astana on the right bank: Old square, Respublic avenue, the Catholic Church, Synagogue, the Memorial to Afghan soldiers, etc.

Sightseeing of Astana. Excursion translation in Astana

Our first stop was at the Russian Orthodox Church, which seem to be very interesting to our guest, since he has never been to a Russian church before. In addition, we could witness the wedding ceremony at the church. We explained to our guest, why people put candles in this or that place, why the church is decorated like it is, etc. We took pictures and moved on.

Next stop was the Islamic culture center, which was built in 2005 and was sponsored by the Emir of Qatar. The Islamic culture center consists of a mosque Nur-Astana, madrasah and a library.

After that we went to Baiterek from which we could see a nice view of the city: Palace of Peace and Accord, Khan Shatyry, House of Ministries, the Residence of the President, both old and new parts of the city.

Our final stop was at the Presidential center of culture, where we visited ethnographical and hystorical halls of the museum. It was very interesting to see a real yurta (an authentic habitat of nomads) with all its decoration, traditional kazakh clothes and traditional jewelry. We were very pleased that our guest asked questions and that he took a keen interest in the traditions and mentality of our country. In my opinion, this is the best result of an excursion!

French-Russian translation: the film on Kazakhstan

April 1st, 2010

As mentioned previously, I worked as a French-Russian interpreter for the French journalists Jean- Marc Gresta and Julien Monteaux when they were filming in Kazakhstan. We worked closely during one week, we visited sightseeings in Astana, drove to Borovoe -a resort not far from Astana, had several meetings and interview.

Sightseeings in Astana

Now I am glad to say that the film is ready and is available on the Internet. The film covers a whole range of issues, from Astana being a new modern capital to the Assembly of the United Nations World Touristic Organization which was held in Astana in October 2009. But the main focus of the film is the spatial development of Kazakhstan. The French jouralists also filmed in Baikonur, and the launch of the spacecraft is a spectacular view.

Baikonur. Film on Kazakhstan

Another aspect of the film is the French-Kazakh relations.

„The visit of the President of France in the beginning of October 2009 really marked an important stage of the strategic partnership between France and Kazakhstan.“ Stephan Janichewski, Associate Director General of CNES

I hope that thanks to that film people will learn more about Kazakhstan, its past and future.

Working as English-Russian translator for Fichtner Gmbh

March 25th, 2010

About one year ago I was first contacted by the German consulting company Fichtner. They needed „einen Dolmetscher in Astana“ so they found me and our collaboration had started.

Technical translation services for Fichtner GmbH

Technical translation services for Fichtner GmbH

First I did a test translation from Russian to English in order for them to evaluate my level of English. Then I started working for this company as a remote English-Russian translator. I was sent many documents, among which there were technical specifications of the hydro power plant refurbishment project. After several months of written translation I was asked to be on-site translator.

The site is located in the South of Kazakhstan, close to Uzbek border. It was a totally new experience for me: I was no longer working in front of my computer day and night, I was visiting the hydro power plant, I was translating on the field while there was drilling and sampling. I saw with my own eyes how a turbine, a generator, a swichyard look like. That helped a lot in my translation because it is always easier to translate when you know what you are talking about. I worked closely with several specialists: engineers, electricians, geolist, layout designer and I really liked it. Besides, the place was really beautiful and I could go swimming in the reservoir after I finished my work.

I have only good memories about this assignment and I would like to thank Maia Burduli for being such a great person!

Translation at the fair AGRITEK 2010

March 23rd, 2010

I just finished translating at the agriculture fair Agritek 2010 which was held in Astana on the 17-19 of March. I was translating Per Vinther, the representative of Unibolt company, located in Denmark.

Agriculture in Kazakhstan

Mr.Vinther had kindly provided me with information on bolts and other coldformed solutions which was very helpful. I have learned about nuts, screws, washers as well as different ways of placing a bolt into a wheel, etc. These couple days were very productive for us: not only did we go to the fair, but we also contacted several companies which would be interested in what we were to offer them.

Some people don’t know that Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, so we can produce more wheat than several european countries together. That’s why the agriculture market is very big here. The problem is that foreign people expect kazakhstani companies that need agricultural mashinery for example to be on the Internet and have their home pages with contact details. But that’s not the case here. Internet has only been around for several years and usually those who are older than 50 don’t know how to use computer. I don’t what people to have a negative impression on Kazakhstan, but this is how it is. I am sure, this situation will be slowly changing but for now I can only recommend two things: first, don’t google in English, google in Russian. Second, don’t send an email in English, send it in Russian, otherwise in 99% you will not be replied.

As for Mr.Vinther, we have found together the companies he needed and hopefully we will work together again when he arranges the meetings with these companies.

Negotiations at the Ministry of Tourism and Sport

February 28th, 2010

The whole week I’ve been translating negotiations at the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, where the Vice Minister Uskenbaev had meetings with Judith Luscomb, the representative of the Buzz Buziness, the film production company.

English interpreters of kazakhstan

There was made an offer to make a documentary film on Kazakhstan which would show the country in all its beauty, both in winter and in summer. The documentary would touch various topics, such as history and religion, handcrafts and culture, adventures and ecotourism, local traditions and kazakh food. There was elaborated a very detailed plan of filming and Vice Minister as well as the Committee Chairperson seemed to like the idea.

At the next meeting they went into more details about tender processing and legal issues. With such a big project one should take every detail into consideration. My translation went rather smoothly since I am quite familiar with the tender processing in Kazakstan. The next day we met with the chief accountant and went through the whole project again, this time focusing on figures.

While translating presentation from English to Russian I was thinking about interpreter’s role in negotiations. Not only should he/she translate word for word thus delivering the message, it is also extremely important to use the right intonation, gestures, smiles and pauses. What the outcome of the negotiations would be if the presentation is done perfectly in English but it looks pale when translated into Russian because of an interpreter? So I came to a conclusion that an interpreter should also know the bacics of marketing and branding, as well as pchycology. It’s not only the matter of language skills, it’as also about the right personality.

With Judith we also did some shopping because she was interested in purchasing some traditional kazakh clothes. Hats were her favoutire item :) Well, kazakh traditional hats are something!

I also did some written translation for Judith since she needed me to translate some official letters to the Ministry. In general it was a very exciting assignment since the topic – mass media- was both familiar and interesting.

English to Russian Translation at the Ministry of Agriculture

January 19th, 2010

Last week I worked with the representatives of the Inkoa and BCC companies which won the tender in Kazakhstan.


The topic was rather unusual for me: I was translating the presentation on the forest nursery. I have never worked in that sphere before, so the material that I received on the eve of the presentation was very helpful. Some words were familiar, like „greenhouse“, „irrigation“, „seeds“ and others, some concepts were new to me, such as „germination“ and „micoriza“. It was rather a technical translation since we discussed the process of seeding and planting.

As an interpreter I always learn many things when I work. You never know in what field of knowledge you will work tomorrow, this is why you can’t be 100% equipped with the specific vocabulary. An interpreter must have an excellent memory so that if a word is mentioned once, this word should be buried in one’s memory forever. During presentation several people might be talking at the same time, so an interpreter should be very attentive, so he or she does not miss out anything. Some people might also be talking for too long and it’s not always a good idea to inetrrupt and start translation. So there should be a notebook and a pen. And an excellent memory again!

The atmosphere at the Ministry was very friendly, the protocol was signed and a new meeting was scheduled for February. I am sure I will learn even more about bare-root seeding, dripping system of irrigation and seed hardening!

Translation for the British tour operators

November 15th, 2009

Last week I worked again as an English-Russian interpreter. There was a so-called info-tour for the tour operators from the UK and we spent the whole day on excursion in Astana.

Our tour in Astana started with the visit of ALZHIR (russian acronym that stands for the Akmolinsk camp for the wives of treators of motherland) that was established in what is now settlement Malinovka back in 1937. Our tour guide Elena told us the story of the establishment of this camp, about the women that were sent there and about their harsh lives in the camp. As a translator I sometimes face some difficulties when translating the realities of Kazakhstan (or in this case these of Soviet Union). But even in cases when I can’t use word for word translation, I turn to the descriptive translation. Our guest from the UK were astonished since they had no idea such thing as the camp for wives of treators existed in Soviet Union. We visited the museum in Malinovka that showed how women survived in that camp. I am sure that this excursion touched everyone’s heart beacause I could easily see the shock in our visitors eyes. Every time I go to this museum I am reminded of the black period in history of our country that became the second motherland for million people sent to the exile. Almost every family knows what „Stalin’s repressions“ mean and not only from the textbooks…

After such an emotional start of our excursion we came back to Astana, had lunch with our guests and continued our tour on the left bank. After visiting Baiterek we drove to the Palace of Independance. We stopped by the newly opened monument „Kazakh Eli“ which means „Kazakh people“ and then went inside the Palace, where we were shown the model of Astana and where we watched a short 4D movie about Kazakhstan and its heart-Astana.

We also went on excursion in the Palace of Peace and Accord that is situated right in front of the Palace of Independance. We visited the hall where the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions is always held.

Our excursion was extremely intensive, we visited almost all the sightseeings of Astana and our guests seemed to be very impressed.

Russian-English translation for Arab journalists

November 11th, 2009

Several days ago I did Russian-English translation of an excursion in Astana. It was organized for the Arab journalists and the representatives of the Etihad Airways company who came to Astana in order to promote a new destination Abu Dhabi – Astana that was launched recently.

Ambassador of UAE in Astana & me

Ambassador of UAE in Astana & me

On the excursion we worked together with the tour guide Elena, it was not our first excursion together, so I knew what to expect in terms of translation. We started our excursion on the right bank of Astana, the place that the city emerged from. We passed by the main sightseeings of the Old city and then came to the left bank, where we visited Baiterek and the Islamic cultural center.

Eventhough I am a translator, my work is not limited to translation only. I usually talk about Kazakhstan, its culture, history and traditions. Our guests from UAE took keen interest in all these and asked me a lot of questions. It is always very exciting for me to share my knowledge with someone who is eager to listen.

They also wanted to see the life of common people of Kazakhstan, so we went to a small village near the airport, where we found the houses that were built in the 1930’s, very simple traditional houses. There is always a striking contrast between what one can see in the capital and somewhere nearby. Our guests seemed to like that village with a very traditional way of life.

When the excursion was over, I was invited to the reception dedicated to the promotion of the new destination Abu Dhabi-Astana as well. I’ve met a lot of new people at the reception and learned more about the Arab culture. I will remember this day as the one that I spent with very nice people, sociable and open-minded and I am looking forward to meeting them again one day.

French-russian translation in Astana

November 5th, 2009

As a French-Russian translator in Astana I worked for one week with two French journalists Jean Marc Gresta and  Julien Monteaux,  who represented the company Science frontieres. They came to Astana  in order to make a film about Kazakhstan.

French-russian translation in Astana

So we met in  Astana International Airport where I came to pik them up and then I helped them to find their hotel.

The main part of the work started next morning, when we met in order to get some things settled, such as to get the accreditation, to make several appointments and to confirm the date and the time of the interview. Once this has been done, we were off to the city to film some sightseeings of Astana. We worked  both on the right and left banks of Ishim river, made pictures of Presidential palace, Baiterek, Parliament, old city square, etc. We visited some museums, one of which is the first President museum.

Next day we left for Borovoe, since Jean Marc and Julien wanted to film “la nature savage”- wild nature that is.   I did the organizational part: I found a driver and  instructed him about what places we should visit. So we spent a whole day climbing on the hills and stones, filming lakes with waves and struggling with icy wind.  There was more work to do in Astana.

The biggest thing of their stay in Astana was the interview with Mr.Talgat Musabaev, the kazakhstani cosmonaut. Mr.Musabaev shared with us his experience, told us about the plans for development in the spacial industry and also sent his warmest regards to the French  cosmonauts he once worked with.  He used a lot of space related terminology and this was a challenge to me since I had to get it all correctly. In general the interview had a very positive energy and translation in such atmosphere was a pleasure for me.

We also attended some other events, such as World Touristic Organization, that took place in Astana in the beginning of October, met with different people and filmed more of Astana. I also got to translate the questions to our  President prepared by Jean Marc.

So this is how that week passed. I went to the airport again-this time to say goodbye to Jean Marc and Julien.  It’s amazing how can one get used to each other over such a short period of time. That week was really hectic but full of new people, new places and new challenges.

FOLLOW-UP:

in April 2010 I was informed that the film on Kazakhstan is ready and is available on Terre TV.  They also mentioned  my name in acknowledgements in the film credits and that was a very nice surprise for me!


Accommodation in Astana – information for foreigners

June 15th, 2008

Accomodation is what one looks for when comes to Astana from abroad-that’s obvious. Some people ask translators to help in finding a right place, some people find it on their own.

In most cases a foreigner will go for a hotel, but there is still a big number of those who want to cook themselves and feel a bit more like at home, then they seek for a serviced apartment, apartment for daily rent. What I want to do here is to help those who try to find an apartment or a hotel using the internet.

Why would one chose an apartment and not a hotel room-that’s the first question. In my opinion one can feel freer in an apartment rather than in a hotel room. Usually all rooms in a hotel are standartized and really have no face. Apartments can be very different, with different number of rooms, with kitchen and balcon. Those who travel with their family find it very comfortable in an apartment taking into account the possibility of cooking and less strict conditions of the stay. There are some services that go along with the apartment: from arranging the transfer from the airport to making laundry and ironing. Hotels, on the other hand, have their own advantages. No matter what one chooses, it is easier to arrange the accomodation with the help of Apartamenty.kz, which  contains the big choice of apartments and hotels in Astana and other cities in Kazakhstan.