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English-Russian translation at the National Testing Center

March 2nd, 2012

This time I worked in the National Testing Center providing English-Russian translation at a series of lectures on evaluation in education.

The lecturer, Dr. Shonau, who came from the Netherlands, gave an overall view on the education system in the Netherlands, on the role of examinations and test in education. He explained different types of taxonomy models: that of Bloom and Romiszowsky, that are the basis for test constructing.  Lectures touched upon test types: multiple choice tests, open end tests, written and practical tasks and the ways how to best evaluate each of them. The whole day was dedicated to the final examination and its administration and evaluation criteria as it as done in the Netherlands. Participants: those who develop test items, put them together in a test and later assess the results, took great interest in that part since the final exam that combines both school leaving and university entrance exam in Kazakhstan will no longer exist. The discussions are held as to how change the format of the exam and what is the best practice in the world.

It is obvious that there are differences between the education system in the Netherlands and that in Kazakhstan but still there are similarities, too, and both countries win from learning from each other’s experience.

Interpreter Services at the Medical Forum

June 12th, 2011

On the June, 1st I provided interpreter services at the II Korean-Kazakhstani Medical Forum. Representatives of 6 different hospitals flew over to Astana to have a presentation of their achievements in treating cancer, cardiovascular diseases, spine injures, etc.

I was assigned to work with Mr. Kyung Woo Park, Deputy Director of the International healthcare center in Seoul National University Hospital. In his presentation Mr. Park touched upon new ways of treatment of ventricular septal defect and other heart diseases: not with the help of bypass surgery but using the percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Korean doctors suggested cooperation to their Kazakhstani colleagues, several MOIs were signed and now Kazakhstani patients can be sent to Korea to undergo the necessary treatment.

Once the official part of the forum was over, the more interactive one began. Those who were interested could come up to the booths where the hospitals were present and they could ask questions and exchange contact details.

It was my first experience in translating at the Medical Forum and I learned a lot while preparing for that assignment. I also got to meet and discuss with many interesting people and I would like to personally thank Mr. Park for all the information that he shared with me.

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 of excursions in Astana

January 15th, 2009

Translation of excursions in Astana is a great deal nowadays as not many tour guides speak English, French or any other foreign languages. The situation will probably change in the course of the next couple years as a new generation is getting more and more multilingual and there won’t be any need to translate what the tour gide says.

Last summer an international economic forum was held in Astana that was the reason wny there were many foreigners in Astana. After an official part of the forum the guest were eager to explore our city and to find out more about its history. Our small team (a bus-driver, a russian speaking tour guide and me) drove up to the hotel where all the guests stayed and we started our excursion stright away.

There were guests from CIS who spoke russian and those from USA, India and China who needed russian-english translation so we arranged the process of excursion this way: first a tour guide Elena gave us some information about this or that sight-seeing in russian and after a while I did the translation.

So we started with a new part of the city, drove by Baiterek (a symbol of Astana), went to the Pyramid (a very famous building made by a Normann Foster’s project), saw a residence of our president Nursultan Nazarbaev, crossed the river and found ourselves in an old part of Astana, came up to its historical center and continued our excursion at the museum of the first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

It was my first translation of an excursion so it was very useful that I prepared for the work: found out lots of information about our city and translated it into English. That was also very good that just couple months before the excursion I had a course „Theory of interpreter’s note-taking“ and I was ready to manage with all figures, names and places that should either be remembered or written down in order to be able to make an adequate translation.

Our excursion was very interesting and productive: even I who was born in Astana learnt many new things about it, so did the guests I hope. I also hope they really enjoyed our city and will come to Astana over and over again.