You are currently browsing the archives for the Advice column category.

New year in March?

March 30th, 2008

Those who were in Kazakstan on the 22 of March may have wondered what was going on in the country. Why were there many yurts (nomadic tent house) and flags, why were people dancing and singing? It may sound strange but the 22 of March is a holiday called Nauryz, that means „the birth of spring“. This day had been celebrated long before Islam was introduced to Kazakhs and therefore it is not of religious nature. The holiday was declared irrelevant and ideologically inconsistent during the Soviet period that it rhe reason why Nauryz was not celebrated nationally from 1926 to 1988. Only in 2001 Nauryz was announced as the national holiday.

Celebrating the awakening of Nature is the core of Nauryz festival. This awakening symbolizes the triumph of good, the Spring that won over the evil forces of darkness represented by the Winter. There is a tradition to thoroughly clean you house on the eve of Nauryz, return all your debts, forgive all offences and resentments and to make peace with all with whom you were at odds. This tradition can be explained by the main theme of Nauryz- the renewal.

When the holiday comes, Kazaks would put on festive clothes, pay visits to each other, exchange congratulations, best wishes of well-being and good luck in the coming year. Traditionally they cook and roast and make all sorts of tasty meals during the holidays, for they should symbolize well-being and abundance in the coming year. The feast is usually timed to the noon, it is preceded and followed by a prayer in honour of the fore-fathers read by the mullah. In conclusion the eldest of those present gives his blessings (bata) so that year in year out prosperity be part and parcel of the family.

During the Nauriz holiday it is customary to share generously one’s dastarkhan (table). A special dish – Nauryz koje (yogurt soup) – is prepared for the festival table. In each yurt everyone would have their own recipe. The only rule for making it was the number of ingredients: seven. The guests are served the authentic food: meat dishes such as qazy, qarta, shujiq (lamb and horse meat delicacies), etc. They say that the more you are in celebrating the Nauryz holiday, the greater success will attend you throughout the year.

Authentic food in Kazakhstan.

February 21st, 2008

People in Kazakhstan are very hospitable and they treat a guest with a great honour. Kazakh cookery is extremely various because of the fact that Kazakhstan is a multinational country and the cuisines of all nations (kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Germans, Polish, Koreans and others) combined into one.

Couple days in January I did english-russian translation for an American who came to visit Astana. He had never been to Kazakhstan or any of FSU coutries before, so it was quite a big culture shock, both in a good and bad ways. He wanted to get to know kazakh culture and we started with authentic food and national meals.

I remember his astonishment when I said that horse was one of the national meals in Kazakhstan. Another shock to him was to find out that there was no menu in English and waitresses were of little help. I thought it might be useful to know more about the culture of the country that one goes to. So I would like to present a point of view of an American who was in Kazakhstan and tried many national meals. I hope it can be both educative and interesting.


By NADIA WHITE, state editor for the Star-Tribune, Wyoming.

Let me confess right up front: My vegetarian habits are on hold.

Take that one more step: I spent most of November eating horse meat, drinking mare’s milk and marveling at the social niceties involved in serving baked sheep’s head.

I am just back from Kazakhstan, where machismo is measured by how much meat one can eat and hospitality in how much a guest is fed. Suffice it to say, the Kazakhs are extraordinary hosts and I am eating more macho than I used to.

During a month in the Central Asian nation, numerous table-filling feasts were spread before me. A spyglass across time, they recall the days when a guest who arrived at a nomad’s yurt would have traveled very, very far, across the steppe, with little in the way of clothing or fine food.

Read more »

Interpreter’s Ethics

February 11th, 2008

These are ten really useful rules that every interpreter should know.

Rule № 1
Not to spread any information which you possess. Watch out for notes that were taken while translating.

Rule № 2

It is advisable to set up very trusting relations with the principle (the person you are interpreting for). Keep in mind that “trusting relations” does not mean “friends”.

Rule № 3

It is necessary to keep patience even in extreme situations in order to be always polite and tactful. Be ready to face some difficulties.

Rule № 4

Not to add any information from yourself to the translation and not to miss any information while translation. Not to distort any information and not to express your own point of view.

Rule № 5

If it necessary to explain peculiarities of the national character, cuisine, mentality, culture known to an interpreter and unknown to a partner, an interpreter should increase the usage of communication and mutual understanding.

Rule  № 6

It is necessary to help those people who need help in any situation especially abroad even after work and without extra payment.

Rule № 7

Constantly improve your qualification, professional skills, to expand and deepen your erudition in different spheres of knowledge specializing in only one direction (law, finance, ecology and on).

Rule № 8

To share your knowledge and experience with younger and fresh interpreters or from time to time give some advice to students studying interpreting.

Rule № 9

To keep solidarity and professional ethics, to increase the prestige of the profession. Keep in touch with other interpreters.

Rule № 10

Having broken one of these rules shouldn’t be caught 🙂