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Russian translation at the International Airport Astana

July 27th, 2010

For a couple of months I’ve been involved in a JICA project first as an English-Russian translator of several documents, then as a Russian interpreter at the meetings.

International Airport Astana, english russian translation

A couple of years ago a huge projest was launched – construction of a new airport of Astana and remodeling of its runway and its facilities. Construction is done, so now the project has entered the  appraisal phase, that is why an independent consultant came to Astana to conduct a survey. That is how I met Mr. Yamaguchi. As I mentioned, first I did the written translation of a questionnaire and of several letters to International Airport Astana, so I got to know the vocabulary related to airport: apron, taxiway, aircraft boarding bridge and other words. Knowing those words was quite helpful when Mr. Yamaguchi arrived to Astana and held several meetings with the airport authorities.

Our first meeting was in the Ministry of Transport and Communication, in the Civil Aviation department, where Mr. Yamaguchi made a presentation of the purpose of his visit. Next  meeting we had was at the airport, where there were discussed issues related to the condition of some airport facilities and, specifically, of the apron. This meeting was followed by another one in the air traffic control tower. That visit was a very interesting experience for me because I got to see the operation of the airport from inside. It looked almost like in a movie when a controller spoke to pilots and gave them directions.  I was definitely amazed by the work of these people! This place has a restrict access to it so if I hadn’t been an interpreter I would have never entered that building. That is another agvantage of being an interpreter!

We continue working together with Mr. Yamaguchi, his next visit is expected in October, so I look forward to more meetings.

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 :)

Working as a translator in Moscow and other Russian cities

June 25th, 2010

In May I worked as English-Russian translator in Moscow and other Russian cities together with Mr.Vinther, the regional manager of Unibolt company. We already worked with Mr.Vinther in March when he attended the Agritek exhibition in Astana, so I was familiar with the subject matter, that was the reason why he asked me to fly with him to Moscow.

Translator in Moscow

It was a very hectic trip, our schedule was extremely tight: we had 11 flights within 10 days. Mr. Vinther flew from Danemark and I flew from Astana, we met in Moscow and had several meetings there. We visited a couple of companies involved in agriculture sector and we took our first steps in establishing a business partnership. Then we flew to another Russian city called Samara, where we had a similar meeting. After that we also flew to Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd. Unfortunately there are no direct flights between these cities, so every time we had to come back to Moscow. And there was no time for sightseeing!

Since Unibolt, the company that Mr. Vinther presented, is a manufacture of bolts, our meetings were quite technical, so it was handy to know different types of the bolts, such as wheel bolts, clevis pins, etc. At the same time our meetings touched upon some financial issues, because we met with Directors or Sales Managers as well.

I must say that Russia is very different from Kazakhstan, eventhough these countries have a lot in common. Moscow itself is a crazy city, ecpecially in terms of security. Each time we had to fly to/from Moscow we had to pass security control which would have been fine if we hadn’t have to take our shoes off all the time :) Also they asked us several times about visa, migration card, registration and all these issues.

When our trip to Russia was over, we flew to Astana only to spend here less than 24 hours. Our next destination was Karaganda, it was the first time that I worked as a translator in Karaganda. We had several meeting in the city, then flew to Almaty and worked for a couple of days there.

This was quite a trip, but the good thing is Mr. Vinther is coming back to Kazakhstan in July which means the trip was rather successful!

Figures speaking:

  • 10 days
  • 11 flights
  • 7 cities
  • 2 countries
  • 18 meetings
  • 9 airports
  • 25 hours on the planes
  • 0 crashes :)

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.

Interpreting at the Ministry of Agriculture -Part 2

March 20th, 2010

It is always nice to see people that I have already translated for coming back to Kazakhstan. This was the case with the representatives of INKOA company. They needed to specify several things regarding the future contract, so that means that I was translating at the Ministry of Agriculture again.

Interpreter Astana

Similar to the previous time we worked long hours but our work was rewarded-we are now one step closer to singing the contract. This time I had to deal with technical part of the contract, such as the number of greenhouses, crop rotation, wind and snow resistance. I also translated from English to Russian and vice versa both legal and financial sides of the contract. And here was the tricky part: we were talking about the taxes which are very different in Kazakhstan and in Spain. I have learned a lot about Corporate Income tax, Branch Income tax, and others.

Being an interpreter is not easy, that I can be honest about. While there were 3 people, each knowing his or her sphere, I had to be an expert in all spheres. That means I have to know at least something about everything. That is why I enjoy my work so much. I really do.

So this assignment is over for the next month or so and hopefully next time I wil write about singing the contract!

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!

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!


Translation in Astana for OSCE Adviser

October 27th, 2009

I did translation for OSCE Migration/Freedom of Movement Adviser who came in Astana in September. He is a representative of the Office for democratic institutions and human right in Warsaw. We worked closely with the Ministry of Justice of Republic of Kazakhstan and JSC “National Informational Technologies”.

On the first day of his stay in Astana we met at the hotel where we discussed topics that would be covered the next day. These topics mostly  touched the computarization of the data base system. Social  issues such as marriage, divorce, child adoption etc. were discussed with the head of the passport service.

Unfortunately I can’t go into more details regarding this translation because as a translator I should stick to one of the translator’s rules: “Interpreter should not reveal any information that he or she obtained during translation”. But what I  can definitely “reveal” and I guess it wasn’t  a state secret at all is that the adviser from OSCE told me that he really liked Kazakhstan and it was his 4th and certainly not last visit to Kazakhstan.

He didn’t have enough time to do any sightseeing, but on our way to the Ministry I explained a little bit the history of Astana, I showed the major sightseeings in Astana such as Baiterek, the Residence of the President, the building of Ministries, the Pyramide and so on. So on can say that a translator should be a good tour guide even if he or she is not doing the translation of an excursion :)

Translation at the Congress of World Religions- another task for me

October 5th, 2009

Translation at the Congress of world religions- another task for me

I worked at the Congress of World Religions that was held in Astana on the 1-2 of July as a Liaison Officer for the World Church Council General Secretary Samuel Kobia.

WCC-Chef Samuel Kobia & Snezhana Skakovskaya

WCC-Chef Samuel Kobia & Snezhana Skakovskaya

It was a very interesting task since the Congress of world religions is unique in its nature. Religious leaders from more than 77 countries came to Astana in order to have an open dialogue between the religions.

Buddha Monk & me

Guest from Korea & me

The Congress was well organized, our guests were placed in hotels of Astana and they were daily informed by their liaison officers about their programme.  Usually we came at the hotel and accompanied our guests in the buses and led them to the Palace of Peace and Accord or to the Palace of Independance where all the meetings were held. We were accompaning them every minute and  were solving all the problems they could have: whether someone has lost his badge or hasn’t gotten his invitation to the reception, the liaison officers were called to help. We also did translation for our guests since  many  of them were foreigners and didn’t speak  Kazakh or Russian. Mostly translation was needed for the purpose  of communication between kazakhstani part and our guests or sometimes for the communication among guests themselves. Arrangement of accommodation and transportation was also our duty, as well as arranging siteseeing in Astana.

The Congress was a great experience since this was not only the meeting of different people, but also of different cultures and religions. I  am very glad that translation in Astana gives me the opportunities to meet very interesting people!

Translation for the Secretary General of OSCE

July 8th, 2009

Translation for the OSCE Secretary General seems to be impossible in Astana, but this is not true. Secretary General of OSCE, M. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut came to Astana for the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions.
The state broadcasting station „Kazakhstan“ had the privilege of interviewing the Secretary General. I was asked to translate for M. De Brichambaut.  There was  the agreement with the press center that the interview would be done in English, but since M. De Brichambaut is French, I translated from Russian to French and vice versa.
The atmosphere was very friendly. We swichted  to English for the official part of the interview. I translated from Russian to English the questions of the journalist and the responses of M. De Brichambaut. He  made remarks about the Congress that was being  held in Astana, he also shared his thoughts about the forthcoming chairmanship of Kazakhstan in OSCE.  At the end of interview the Secretary General wished all citizens of Astana a happy 11th anniversary of the city.
The interview was quite short but very intensive. After the official part I switched back to French and we talked for a while. M. De Brichambaut assured us that this was not his last trip to Kazakhstan and that he would be coming back again and again. He was willing to have an open dialogue between OSCE and Kazakhstan. Hopefully, we will be following the news related to the presidency of  Kazakhstan in OSCE.
Chairmanship in OSCE in 2010 has a great value to Kazakhstan, so does the translation for the Secretary General to me.

Translation for OSCE session in Astana

June 22nd, 2009
Translators Snejana Skakovskaya & ...

Kurt Lerras & translators

Summer 2008. Astana is filled with foreign guests from all over the world. There was one really important event: the 17th annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

I participated in organizing this session as a volunteer translator with some other girls. We worked for an International secretariat and we were involved in paper work. Before the session we prepared bags with documents for all members of delegation, put signs on the tables at the meeting rooms, spread stationery and so on.

We worked closely with two people from Denmark: Mr.Kurt Lerras-general services officer and Mr.Kim H. Pedersen – head of security. It was such a pleasure  to work with these gentlemen!

Translation OBSE

Translation OSCE

I did some translation but most of the time I just spoke English or French. One of our task was to issue some documents to a secretary of each delegation (that is about 50). When I came up to a person from French-speaking country I spoke French to him. Usually people were surprised as French is not as popular in Kazakhstan as English. People told me that they were tired of speaking English all the time and it was pleasant to hear French at long last. That is how for example I met memebers of the delegation of Monaco. Some days after I translated for them on an excursion to ALZHIR.

I learned a lot about OSCE that was new to me. For example I had an idea what sort of issues are usually discussed and produced at OSCE Parliamentary Assembly but I knew nothing about its structure.
Moreover I was lucky enough to meet a skilled simultaneous English-Russian translator. He gave me many pieces of advice that I really appreciated. It was for the first time that I’ve been in translator’s booth and seen all technical devices that are used in the process of translation with my own eyes. It was a great experience for me!

I liked the atmosphere of all this session so much! I noticed the fact that people who had a high position weren’t arrogant but friendly and amiable.

I hope to meet all these people in 2010 when Kazakhstan will be the Chairman of OSCE.

Translation Services: a Technical Excursion in Astana

May 16th, 2009

Couple days ago I was invited to a technical excursion  as a Russian-English translator. The organizers of the excursion let me know about it one day in advance so I had some time to prepare some specific vocabulary.  I read up about civil and industrial engineering, about some materails  and machinery used in the construction work, about kazakh and foreign companies involved in this process, etc.

Translation Services: Technical Excursion in Astana

Translation Services: Technical Excursion in Astana

Astana, technical Excursion

Astana, technical Excursion

As it was a bus excursion, I had to do  consecutive translation from Russian into English using a microphone.  The bus drove us through Astana and  we got to know Old center of the city and a New (administrative) one. Astana is a great building site and lots of foreign companies invest their capital in the construction.  We went sightseeing in Astana and our guests from Korea, Japan, Portugal, Brazil, Russia, Tadjikistan and other countries could give a  glance at the Palace of Peace (Pyramide), the residence of President, the Palace of Independence, Baiterek-the symbol of Astana and other incredible places of the city.

Our first stop was at the national stadium that will have been finished by the next year.  We learned that Michel Platini  had already seen the project of the stadium and also that “Milan” was going to come to the inauguration of the  first stadium with the movable roof in Astana. This stadium will be the place of Asian games in 2011.

Next object was the abuilding cycling track that is located right next to the national stadium. These two project are being conducted simultaneously. We were told that  once the cycling track has been finished there is going to be a team of 3 cylists from the international sport organization to check if the track meets all the international requirements.

Last object we got to visit was Han Shatyry Entertainment center. That was actually the end of our excursion and I hope that our guests enjoyed their time in Astana  and will come back again.

Some tips for foreigners in Kazakhstan

January 27th, 2009

Kazakhstan is becoming more anf more attractive to foreigners that is the reason why translators have more and more work. From the 19th to 27th of January I translated from english to russian for an american who came to visit Astana. He must be bery courageous to go to Kazakhstan in the middle of the winter.

We got to know each other at the airport where I came to meet him. Good thing that I did it otherwise he wouldn’t be able to change his money as the girls at the information desk couldn’t understand his southern accent (at the beginning I had a hard time with understanding him, too, I must admit).

I took him to the hotel and showed him around so he could get his breakfast at least. Usually foreigners who come to Kazakhstan for the first time (especially those who have never been outside of Europe or the USA) have a big culture shock. Everything is way too different from what they are used to: beginning with weather and food and finishing with mentality and norms of behavour. In that very moment when one is in a foreign country where people speak the language that he or she doesn’t understand, translator becomes the best friend. Translator is not a person who just transforms a speach from one language to another. He or she is the one who helps to solve all the problem, one who can explain many things that are natural in this specific country but unknown to foreigners.

So after showing where he can get an american food (keep in mind it is close to impossible to find a decent american food in Kazakstan), I explained to Richard that he needed to get registered at the Migration Police even if he was going to stay in Kazakhstan no more then 10 days. The proceedure of getting registered is quite irritating and long-lasting but it should be done anyway and the sooner the better (during the first 5 days of the stay in the country).

Richard’s clothes were not very suitable for Kazakhstan’s winter that is why we went to a shopping centre and got him all he needed.

Another important thing that one can’t live without in a foreign country is a mobile phone with a valid SIM card so we had to get Richard one.

The first day is usually the busiest one. Everyone gets tired and wants to get some rest. Richard’s flight from Los Angelos was exausting so I left him at the hotel, gave him my mobile phone number and told him not to hesitate to contact me whenever he needs it.

Translation at the fair “Education in Australia”

January 1st, 2009

Nowadays the idea of studying abroad is extremely popular in Kazakhstan that is why different fairs concerning education are held several times per year. “Education in Australia” was one of the fairs I translated at.

Education in Australia. Translator Snejana Skakovskaya

"Education in Australia". Translator Snezhana Skakovskaya

I translated for Ms. Gaynor Green, marketing project manager from Adelaide and Mr. Darren Turner, regional recruitment manager who represented Flinders university. There were a lot of people interested in education in Australia in spite of the fact that Australia is too far away from Kazakhstan. Mostly students took a keen interest in medical science, civil engineering, information technology and tourism. Some students or postgraduates had already taken TOEFL or IELTS and for that reason they knew the level of their English. No matter what the result of English exam is there is always an opportunity to take a foundation course and then enter a university.

Education in Australia. Translator Snejana Skakovskaya

Education in Australia. Translator Snezhana Skakovskaya

In my opinion what is also useful to know for those who want to come to Australia to study is that there is a lot of information on not just studying but also working in Australia. It means that a student can earn enough money working either on campus or off campus that allows to cover education fee and other expenses.

Couple hours after we got started our “neighbour” – Mr. Walter Ong – dean, who represented Curtin University of technology asked me to translate for him as somehow he didn’t have a translator. I really liked the way he talked to students: he didn’t just answer to their questions but gave them many pieces of good advice. It turned out for example that there were some specialties studying which a student could apply for Australian citizenship. And what is really amazing Mr. Walter Ong brought with him some information on Muslim culture centers in Australia. It was very wise as Kazakhstan is a muslim country and maybe I am mistaken but some people are afraid to go to a foreign country without having access to a mosque they got use to go to. So in my opinion this kind of information can make things easier.

Our team on the fair

Our team on the fair

One more thing that I would like to mention is the fact that Australian English is differs from British or American English. I can’t tell that I had hard time with understanding but there was a remarkable difference in pronunciation.

I hope the fair was really successful both for australian and kazakh sides. I am sure it is good long term partnership.

Education differences: Kazakhstan and Germany.

October 10th, 2008



Being a third-year student in Eurasian National University in Kazakhstan, I obtained a european scholarship named Erasmus Mundus and came to Germany to improve my knowledge of English linguistics and literature. I just started studying at Freie Universität Berlin but I can already tell the difference between two systems of education.

Germany

Germany

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan

1. There is more freedom in terms of what you study and how much. Students can choose whatever they want: there is always an opportunity to take a course in politics even if the major is philologie. 1. All courses are compulsory.
2. There are no fixed groups, every student has his own schedule that he can change on his own. There is a tendency to individualism. 2. Groups are formed of 15-25 students (depending on a major) that study together all the time. There is a schedule for the whole group for the whole period of study. Groupmates spend lots of time together not only at university but also go out very often. Thus in 4 years they become good friends and keep in touch after graduating from university.
3. There is no fixed time of graduation from university. Courses can be taken as many times as needed, exams can be delaid. In my opinion it is not always good to have no restrictions at all. Sometimes student graduate from university being 30-year old. At this age they only start building their career. 3. Everyone is supposed to study 4 years (except for those who are going to become doctors). Course can be taken one more time in case of failing an exam. Exams can only be postponed in case of disease. Usually students graduate from university at the age of 22-23. Bachelor degree is enough to get a highly-paid job.
4. Professors can be argued with. The atmosphere in the classroom is too liberal: students can eat and drink in front of a professor. 4. Professors are regarded as authorities whose opinion can not be wrong. Students’ attitude to professors is very respectful.
5. Personal relationships are not involved in final assessment: when a term paper is being read professor has no idea who this work belongs to. Sometimes it happens that a professor doesn’t know names of all his students. 5. Personal relationships have a lot to do with the final assessment especially when it comes down to oral examinations. Professors and students can be very close though there is always a distance between them.
6. Most students study 4-5 days a week and have 3-4 lectures or seminars a day. Each class lasts 1,5 hour. Homework is not given. Everyone has clear understanding of what he is going to listen to on a lecture. Handouts are available couple days before the lecture, they can be printed and read before hand. 6. Everyone studies 6 days a week and has about 5-6 classes a day each of those is 50 minutes long. Homework is something thar every student is supposed to do every day. Material given on a lecture is absolutely new to students. Notetaking is compulsory.

To conclude, it can be said that though a new system of education was introduced in Kazakhstan about 5 years ago, it still looks a lot like an old soviet system (not necesserily bad one). For me it is a great chance to get to know a western system with all its freedom and innovative technologies. But there are usually two sides of the medal that I am sure I’ll face.

Translation in Astana. Fair “Education in Europe and USA”

September 11th, 2008
Ian P.Little & translator Snazhana Skakovskaya

Ian P.Little and translator Snezhana Skakovskaya

It was a really interesting day since I was invited to the “Education in Europe and USA” fair as a     translator. It was held at Eurasian national university in Astana.

There were many representatives of universities in England, Scotland, the Czech Republic, the USA and     others. I was translating for Mr. Ian P.Little, who is a director of international recruitment office of     international education.

I took part in such kind of fair  as a translator for the third time that is why I knew what was going to     happen and actually I knew what kind of translation I would be doing. Pupils with their parents, students    and post-graduates were interested in getting more information about tuition fees, accommodation,    deadlines for application forms and so on. These are standard questions that have standard answers so    the process of translation went smoothly. These fairs are usually extremely useful both for students and    representatives of universities.

Fair started at 14.00 and so many people came up to our table that I couldn’t stop my translation even    for a minute.  There were several heads of universities of Kazakhstan who wanted to sign an agreement    with Virginia Commonwealth University and these people turned my translation from common English to    Business English. That is the moment when my work became more important and more interesting.

Four or five hours later we didn’t have many visitors so we finally had a chance to talk. It is always very     interesting to find out what a foreigner knew about Kazakhstan before he came over. I tried to look at     our country from his prospective and share with him my knowledge in the sphere of culture and  history     of Kazakhstan.

The fair is over but I  am still thinking about  it . For me it is a great opportunity to meet people from      all over the world, work with them and keep in touch with them afterwards.  It is also an extremely useful experience for me because of the practice I have since  both language and communication skills are involved in the process of translation. Usually I make a list of words or phrases that were difficult to  translate, then at home I look those words up in the dictionary and learn by heart in order for me  not to have difficulties in translation next time.  Thus step by step I enlarge my vocabulary.

So I am looking forward to new fairs, new universities, new people!

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.