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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!

Simultaneous interpreting at the ECO fifth conference on disaster risk management

December 2nd, 2010

On the 10-11th of November I worked as a simultaneous interpreter at the ECO Conference on disaster risk management. There were presented 8 countries of the Organization as well as UN, WHO, UNISEF and other international organizations. The conference was hosted by the Minister of Emergency situations, so  he was the first one to be interpreted, followed by ECO Deputy Secretary General,  UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan and by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
Unlike previous simultaneous translation, this one was quite specific: there were presentations on seismic risk reduction,  on global campaign „Making cities resilient“, and others. The main topic was the natural disasters: earthquakes, landslides, floods, wildfire and the impact that they have on  overall safety with the focus on school and hospitals safety.
There were some hectic moments for the interpreters when one of the speakers delivered his speach in Persian instead of  English. It was quite a surprise for us but we managed with the help of his colleague who volunteered to interpret into English so we could intrepret him into Russian. The other presentations were fine although sometimes overwelmed with figures, dates and places. But being a simultaneous interpreter, we have to deal with this fact, as well as with the lenght of a presentation and with the speed at which this presentation is given.
Totally I worked 14 hours the first day and then some more hours the following day. It’s not easy, I must admit, but it is very interesting at the same time.