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French translator for Expo 2017 in Astana

February 27th, 2016

On February 24-25th the second Expo 2017 International Participants Meeting was held in Astana where I worked as a simultaneous French-Russian interpreter. The first IPM was held in November 2014 where I worked as an English-Russian translator.

French translator for Expo 2017 in Astana

French translator for Expo 2017 in Astana

International participants were presented with the information on work progress in terms of organization of and preparation for Expo 2017 in Astana. They learned about how the construction is going, what is done in th area of marketing, ticketing, how Kazakhstan is planning on attracting millions of visitors to the Expo 2017.
The participants were very active during these two days, they asked questions about safety and security, about a possibility to have a day or even a week of African culture during Expo. After two vety intensive days they were able to see the construction site with their own eyes and get an idea of what Expo 2017 in Astana will look like.
About 10 participation countries were signed during IPM, it is expected that Expo 2017 in Astana will host about 100 countries, some will be represented as a region, international organizations and NGOs will be present as well.
I have been involved in Expo since 2012 when Kazakhstan just submitted its application dossier and hosted an Equiry Mission. Back then 2017 seem very far away and now we are at the finish line just a year away from this exciting event. I am really looking forward to Expo 2017 in Astana!

Translation at the EXPO seminar for the Carribean Region

October 11th, 2014

After winning the right to host Expo 2017 in Astana, the national company “Astana Expo 2017” decided to conduct a number of seminars for the developping countries in order to discuss their plans for Expo.

The first seminar that was held in Astana gathered countires of the Carribean region. Representatives of the Caribbean countries gave presentations about the energy in their region, development of the alternative energy source, initiatives for green economy. The national company also gave a couple of presentations about the construction of the Expo site, its master plan, content plan, and others. The countries needed to decide how they want to be present as a region in a so-called Carribean Plaza, they needed to find similarities that they wanted to demonstrate including culture, music, dance, diversity, etc.

After the official part of the seminar the guests had a chance to see Astana, they went to Baiterek and Han Shatyr, they saw a horse show and they were very impressed by the kazakh hospitality.

By the end of the seminar a number of recommendations were worked out, the work will continue to develop the concept of the Carribean Plaza.

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.

Simultaneous translation at the I Convention of Mathematicians

June 1st, 2011

Last Wednesday I did simultaneous translation at the I Convention of Mathematicians of Kazakhstan. I worked together with a Kazakh-Russian translator, whereas I was doing Russian-English translation for the participants of the Convention.

The Convention was held by the Vice Prime Minister and by the Minister of Education and Science, speeches were delivered by academicians, professors, scientists and school teachers. There were representatives from all the regions of Kazakhstan, and also some foreign delegations.

As a Russian translator I have never worked with mathemeticians before and last time I was dealing with equations and derivatives was back in high school, so it was interesting to refresh this knowledge as well as to learn something new. There were quite specific mathematic topics covered but there was also a discussion on the mathematicians in the republic in general and on the problems that they tackle, such as lack of the good modern textbooks, poor translation of Russian books into Kazakh, and lack of young specialist willing to become teachers of mathematics.

Translating mathematics was an interesting and new experience for me which is a good news as I like learning something new every day, I think my school teacher would be proud of my knowledge in mathematics now :)

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.