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Translating for the President N.Nazarbayev

July 17th, 2015

Last week I had a great honor of translating the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. He participated in the Nazarbayev University graduation ceremony in order to personaly issue diplomas to the best students; I was providing English-Russian simultaneous translation services during the ceremony.

Iranslating for the President N.Nazarbayev in Astana

Translating for the President N.Nazarbayev in Astana

Eventhough translating the President is a great responsibility (and quite a lot of pressure, too), it went very smoothly: the President is a great speaker; he knows how to deliver a speech keeping in mind he is being interpreted at the moment.
The President opened the ceremony which was continued by speeches delivered by university’s faculty members; diplomas were issued to bachelor and master degree students.
I am sure it was a great honor for them too to receive such an important document from the hands of the President.
I wish all the best to alumni of the Nazarbayev University, let theor professional lives be as impressive as their graduation ceremony!

Simultaneous Interpreter for the Islamic Conference of the Minsiters of Environment Protection

May 25th, 2012

On May, 17-18th  the fifth Islamic conference of the Ministers of Environment Protection was held in Astana where I was providing  simultaneous translation services.

The conference touched on the issues such as Islamic agenda for green development, strategy for disaster risk reduction, green economy in Islamic countries and many others.  During the discussion there was prepared a draft Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development within the framework of the Islamic world’s participation in the Rio+20 Summit that will be held next month in Brazil.

The conference was very specific from the translation point of view: there were three interpreter’s booths with working languages being Arabic, English and French. As it is quite difficult to find Arabic-French or Arabic-English interpreters in Astana, Russian was used as the language “in between” which means that when there was an Arabic speaking presenter, first the speech was interpreted into Russian and then from Russian into both English and French. This setting resulted in interpreting mainly our colleagues-interpreters which is a big responsibility because it is one thing to provide translation to the “end user” and it is a different thing to say the words that will further be interpreted into other languages.  It is also true the other way around: interpreting a speaker directly is a challenge in itself but interpreting the translation is a double challenge: we had to rely completely on our colleagues because we had no idea what the speaker actually said in Arabic and if the Arabic-Russian translation was wrong or came with the delay, we repeated mistakes, too. In other words, welcome to the broken phone game!

Another difficulty was that each speech was started with the reference to Quran or with the prayers which we weren’t exactly familiar with so we had to quickly learn that, too.

But apparently things didn’t go wrong as they could have, the delegates understood one another, signed  the documents that they prepared and left our city to meet again in Rio in June.

English-Russian Interpreter for Eurasian National Resource Corporation

February 13th, 2012

On November, 17th I worked as a simultaneous English-Russian interpreter for ENRC seminar. The seminar was dedicated to a new change management strategy and to the ways of its implementation.

The seminar was interactive; it started with a simulation game: participants were split up into groups, each group being Employers, Employees or Consultants. Participants had a very fruitful discussion; they genuinely played their roles and drew some interesting conclusions.

The seminar was not too difficult as far as translation was concerned, it was quite a general discussion, however there were some specific business terms such as BBR (business benefits realisation), KPI and PPI (key performance indicators and process performance indicators), etc.

The seminar was mainly conducted in Russian with some presentations made in English, so for the most of the time it was Russian-English translation.

It was my first time working with ENRC (Eurasian National Resource Corporation), one of the major natural resources groups with mining, processing as well as logistical and marketing operations. As always, it was an interesting experience for me.

English-Russian interpreter for the International Accreditation Conference

October 11th, 2011

On September, 16th I had a simultaneous translation at the International Accreditation Conference organized by the National accreditation center in Astana.

It was the first conference of this kind held in Astana, international experts from the US, Australia, UK, Germany and other countries came to the conference to share their experience in the field of accreditation.

The main topic of the conference was the establishment of the unified accreditation system, so that a good produced in one country and accredited and certified in accordance with the international standards could be accepted in other countries. Such a system would significantly reduce time and money that a producer spends on accreditation and certification and it is extremely important within the newly established Customs Union.
Kazakhstan and its NAC recently joined ILAC and should now meet all the requirements of the organization. Conference was interesting for all the participants, they were actively asking questions and making comments which is always a good sign.
I truly enjoyed this short but productive conference.

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,

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!

Simultaneous Russian-English interpreter at the IV Astana Economic Forum

May 19th, 2011

On May, 4-5th I worked as a Russian-English simultaneous translator at the  IV Astana Economic Forum. The Forum gathered experts, international organizations, business communities, transnational companies, research insitutes and universities.

Russian-English Interpreter in Astana

There were eight Nobel Prize laureates present among which John Nash, Eric Maskin, John Aumann,there were also CEO’s and Chairmen of different companies worldwide. From the Kazakhstani part there were government representatives, as well as those of the business.

I worked in a Green Economy section with the representatives of UNECE, mostly dealing with the concepts such as green growth, green development, etc. There were speeches on the advantages of the green economy, approaches and good practices in the UNECE region in terms of greening economy.

There were also some discussions related to the Ministerial Conference that will be held in Astana  in September, that is why I accompanied some participants during the negotiations at the Minsistry of Foreign affairs and the Ministry of Environment Protection  next day.

I will be working with UNECE in the end of  May again, so I am looking forward to meeting the participants again.

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.