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Russian-English translation in Astana at the donor recognition event

June 15th, 2012

On May, 22nd after simultaneous translation at the Vth Astana Economic Forum I was invited to provide translation services at the Eurasia Foundation Central Asia Fund donor recognition event.

Eurasia Foundation Central Asia is a public organization that mobilizes public and private resources to help citizens actively participate in the creation of their own future. Eurasia Foundation is a private non-commercial organization that is aimed at increasing the civil responsibility, developing  private entrepreneurship, improving  education and healthcare systems in Central Asia.

The objective of the event was to express gratitude to the partners and  donors that sponsor all the social projects of the Foundation. Among donors there were: embassies of the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Germany, companies such as Chevron Munaigas, TengizChevroil, ExxonMobil,   World Bank, members of Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The representative of the Foundation was announcing donors and it was my task to translate that as well as the words of gratitude.

When the official part of the event was over everybody started socializing and getting to know each other. It was nice and almost relaxing translation for me after a very hectic day at the Astana Economic Forum.

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!

Becoming an interpreter

March 11th, 2010

Several days ago I was contacted by a girl named Diana, who is studing to become an interpreter and translator. She asked me if I had a specific method of learning English and what I had done in order to become an interpreter. So instead of sending her back an email I decided to put my thoughts into an article, hoping that this might be somehow useful for other students.

So, Diana, here are my answers to your questions: first of all, I don’t have any specific methods of learning English, no secrets, trust me. But there are some things that I could recommend you.

Most important- read a lot. And not only in English. In order to become a really good interpreter, you should be in command of at least two languages: foreign and native one. So while studying English, don’t forget about Russian (or about Kazakh). You should be able of speaking very smoothly, without words such „well“, „errr..“, „you know.. “, you should know many synonyms, so if one word doesn’t come up easily to your mind, you have 3 or 5 others of the same meaning. Grammar and spelling should always be paid attention to, in both languages again. The easiest way, in my opinion, is to achieve it by reading. Read more »

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.