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Russian-English translation at the I Eurasian Congress of Gerontologists.

April 10th, 2015

On April, 9th 2015 I worked as a simultaneous Russian-English translator at the I Eurasian Congress of Gerontologists.

The Congress gathered scientists from Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, USA, Japan with the participation of the State Secretary of Kazakhstan and the Minister of healthcare and social protection of Kazakhstan.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at the Congress

Reports were delivered on topics like: “Molecular Aspects of Peptide Regulation of Ageing”, “Heart tissue engineering”, “Geriatric Frailty and Its Prevention as a Concept of Modern Gerontology”, “Treatment of Comorbidities Improves Overall Survival and Quality of Life of Brain Tumor Patients” and many others.

It was the first time that I had a chance to translate this area of medicine but its terminology is not that specific; it has a lot of terms from a general medicine, such as cardio-vascular deceases, diabetes, malignant tumor, mortality, healthy life style, etc.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at the Congress

I have learnt a lot of interesting things: for example, it is not a good idea to switch on bright light at night as it reduces the level of melatonin being produced in out bodies which protects us from ageing. Or that there is such thing as light pollution: our cities are never in complete darkness, they are highly illuminated which is again not good for our bodies that should be experiencing darkness at night and light during day time.

In other words, the Congress was very informative and fuitful, scientists have shared their achievements and new ideas with each other. Now thanks to my work I know a little bit more about how to live a long and healthy life and, as Ashley Montagu said, better die young as late as possible.

Simultaneous translation at the VI Astana Economic Forum

June 8th, 2013

On May, 22-24th I provided simultaneous translation services at the VI Astana Economic Forum. The Forum is a big-scale annual event and it is the third time that I participate in the Forum.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at AEF

The second day we were at the session: “Entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan: challenges and opportunities” which was followed by the sessions on transition to a green economy and by a political discussion on Kazakhstan, Russia and the EU with a participation of a former President of Poland.

Together with my collegue we worked at a session dedicated to Expo 2017 Astana and the fact that I am actively involved in that project really helped as I knew the speakers and the materials they were presenting.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at AEF

We also provided simulatenous English-Russian and Russian -English translation during the participants’ dinner.

Besides its numerous sessions, the Forum offers a big variety of side events, many foreign companies and Embassies participate in those events.

The couple days during the Forum are always very busy for the translators, translators are booked couple months in advance to ensure their availability. Additional interpreters are brought from Almaty, Moscow and other cities to provide a necessary number of translators that the Forum requires.

Annualy the Forum gathers schientists, businessmen, and journalists from all over the world. It is a great honor to be a part if this huge event.

EXPO 2017 Enquiry mission visit to Astana through the eyes of interpreter

February 15th, 2012

First I would like to give some background information on the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) and how it is related to Astana and my work.

I am sure that many people have heard of the Universal Exhibition – for example the one for which the Eiffel Tower was built. Something similar but of a smaller scale (not a universal but a so-called recognized exhibition) is planned for 2017 and Astana is bidding to host this exhibition. Astana’s main competitor is Liege (Belgium). The decision on the host country will be made by the end of 2012 and in order to facilitate this decision the Enquiry mission visited both Astana and Liege to see if the cities are able to host several millions of visitors that will come to see the exhibitions. This is how 9 delegates of BIE found themselves in Astana in March, 12-16. It was my job to provide both simultaneous and consecutive translation during the visit. It goes without saying the programme was very tight so I will only mention events in which I was involved myself.

March, 11 – arrival day. Organizers of the visit decided to make it an “easy” day for the delegates and use some time before the official part of the visit to introduce guests to the Kazakh culture. That is why the first day was spent in Khan Shatyr, Pyramid and Palace of Independence where guests got a chance to visit the Ethnical Kazakh Village where the Kazakh traditions (including a traditional wedding, dances, jewellery, handcraft, etc) were shown.

March, 12 – beginning of the official programme

My main task on that day was to provide simultaneous translation during the presentations aimed at proving that Astana has enough capacity to host the EXPO 2017 – financial, economic, political.

March, 13 started with the meeting with the Minister of the Interior Mr.Kassymov at which the political situation in the country was discussed.

It was then followed by the excursion to the newly built TV and radio center where we were shown the future news rooms, studios and other facilities of the center.

After a number of presentations delegates left for a working lunch with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs where I was translating as well.


March, 14
was marked by the meeting with the President Mr. Nazarbayev who emphasized the political will to support the idea of EXPO 2017 being held in Astana. The delegates then visited Eurasian National university where a meeting with the Minister of Education and Science, students and academicians was planned. I graduated from this university 2 years ago and it was a very interesting feeling to come back to my alma mater not as a student but as a simultaneous translator. I continued my translation at yet another working lunch, this time with the Mayor of Astana.
March, 15 was another day of presentations on the future site of the EXPO and the future use of EXPO facilities since it is very important to invest in something that will last longer than just 3 months of the EXPO.
When I wasn’t in a booth doing simultaneous translation, I was down in the conference room to help with the consecutive English-Russian translation.

On the March, 16 together with the delegates I left for Almaty where a tour of the city and its surroundings by helicopter was organized. The official visit of the Enquiry mission finished with the internal meeting the results of which will hopefully have a positive impact on the final decision.

A week in the life of an interpreter

October 5th, 2011

Recently I received the following comment from an interpreter who is just starting his career:

Hello, Miss Snezhana. i want to be a translator and if possible, an interpreter. Since i am interested in Russian, i was surfing the web and came across your webpage. i am wondering about two things
1 being a male is a disadvantage as interpreter?
i mean people prefer females over males?
2. what is the routine as a professional interpreter? what is your schedule like?
like you get up, and practice your langauges? i mean i want to know your daily practice as a proffesional interpreter
Thank you,
Gyung

Instead of describing my daily routine and decided to describe one week of my professional life as an interpreter, from September, 5th through September, 10th, 2011

Monday: first day of simultaneous translation at the international conference on fusion energy. How did I prepare? I had a number of thesis that I looked through, I also read up on atom, nuclear physics, Rutherford and his experiments and I prepared a glossary. As always, speakers didn’t stick to their presentations so it was a pure simultaneous translation: I translate what I hear. The main topic of the conference – TOKAMAK –toroidal chamber with magnet coil.

Tuesday: second day of simultaneous translation at the international conference on fusion energy. I am getting comfortable with plasma-wall interactions and berilization process in a vacuum chamber. Topics are getting from general to more specialized.

Wednesday: third day at the same conference. Fusion, fission, lithization, tungsten – it’s just a small part of the discussion.

Thursday: consecutive translation at the Ministry of Health. Last minute call, so no preparation from my side. We speak about unified health information management system in Kazakhstan. Terms: DRG (diagnosis-related groups), HTA (health technical assessment), clinical content, etc. More of this next week.

Friday: consecutive translation for the USA Embassy Military Cooperation department. No comment on this one.

Saturday: simultaneous translation of a lecture on geopolitics for high-level officials from the Ministry of Economics and “Samruk Kazyna”. No materials available before the lecture, so again no preparation.

It’s just happened so that this week I didn’t have the materials to prepare for the meetings but normally I try to get hold some information and make myself familiar with the subject. Especially if it is a simultaneous translation.

Do I “get up, and practice my languages”? No, I don’t. I just don’t have the time for that. I get up and work. Work is the best practice ever.

As for the question whether people prefer male interpreters over females or vice versa, honestly I don’t know, I’ve only been a female interpreter.
So that’s how my week passed. After a short weekend there comes another week with both consecutive and simultaneous translation. No time to relax!

I hope my answer was useful to you, Gyung, and I wish you success in being an interpreter. It’s not easy, that’s true, but it’s lots of fun, trust me!

Conference Interpreter at Nazarbayev University

May 2nd, 2011

On April, 18-22 I worked as a conference interpreter at Nazarbayev University. I was doing simultaneous translation –  professors of Public Policy from National university of Singapore were  invited as lectors for a week long seminar for government officials.

Conference Interpreter in Astana

Seminar was divided into several parts: Professor Asher made a presentation on what makes countries grow: implications for Kazakhstan. Professor spoke about main drivers of growth, knowledge economy and knowledge management, national and firm competitiveness. Second lecture was dedicated to the public finance and budgeting, that lecture mostly covered accrual accounting in comparison to cash accounting. Pr. Asher gave many examples of international practice, including IMF code of good practices on fiscal transparency.

Next lecture was on the State Enterprise reform and on Public Private Partnership, including different models, risk classification, etc.

Two following days lectures were held by Vice dean and Associate Professor, Dr. Fritzen. His main topic was transformational leadership in the public sector with the focus on strategic triangle  of effective policy desing, effective implementation and strong stakeholder support. Participants took a great interest in that lecture, as well as in that on controlling corruption. Dr. Fritzen made his two sessions interactive, he encouraged participants to come up with the examples that are relevant to Kazakhstan.

The seminar was a great experience for me since I worked in a pair with a very experienced conference interpreter, I had a chance to learn from her and  ask for her opinion on different aspects of being an interpreter.

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!

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.

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!

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.

Translation for Greek companies in Astana

December 16th, 2009

Last Friday I was translating at the business forum where different Greek companies were presented: marble, olive oil, furs, doors and windows… one could find anything there. I translated to Mr. Alexander Dimitriadis, Managing Director of Balkan company and also I helped Mr. Vasilis Giannakis, who represented another marble manufacturing company.

I already have experience in geology related translation, so words like „quarry“, „shear strength“, „porosity“ and the like were familiar to me. But there is always something new (for example, the term „slab“): Mr. Dimitriadis was so kind that explained to me difference between several types of marble: polished or ancient, with ot without fossils, more strong or more vulnerable and so on. He also had samples of about 20 types of marble from oll over the world: from his own quarries in Greece and from other countries such as Iran, Turkey, India. I was particularly attracted by the so called Snow White marble (the most expensive, it turned out :) ).

There weren’t too many visitors on that day, but those who did appear were real professionals in marble industry: they knew what they needed and what they were looking for.

After the exibition we went on the short excursion in Astana, visited Baiterek and several construction sites where marble was used.

Why I really like being a translator in Kazakhstan, is because I can always meet people from various parts of the world with different background and mentality. After rendering my translation services back on Friday, I knew a little more about Greece, marble and maybe even more Kazakhstan and its advantages over other countries.

NATO Security forum in Astana, french-russian Translation

August 10th, 2009

Translation in Astana for NATO was possible due to Security forum that took place in the end of June 2009.

NATO security forum in Astana - french-english Translation

NATO Security forum in Astana: french-russian Translation

The Ministry of Foreign affairs of Kazakhstan selected volunteers for this forum. It was decided that some would work at the airport coordinating arrival and departure of delegations, some would locate in hotels helping out with accomodation, some would be responsible for transportation. Initially I was among those who would work with NATO advanced group in the international office. My skills in French language were quite useful since both French and English are official languages of NATO and I could translate from French to Russian directly. As one of NATO officers told me it was very nice speaking French because many English speaking people ignore their duty to be in command of the other offcial language. I was asked by some people to show them the city and to help with bying souvenirs so I had a chance to tell our guests more about Astana, its history and places to visit.
When the forum started I was assigned as a Liaison Officer of the French delegation. It means I was fully responsible for their stay in Astana – starting from visa issues and list of delegates to drawing up their personal schedule, arranging transportation and accommodation.

Translation Service in Astana

Me & NATO Officer

It was a very good experience for me since I could get to know more about the internal work of both Ministry of foreign affairs and NATO – now I know that one  can hardly get any rest during forum, working day doesn’t finish at 7p.m., cell phones never stop ringing but at the end there is a feeling of satisfaction of your own work

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.