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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.

Authentic food in Kazakhstan.

February 21st, 2008

People in Kazakhstan are very hospitable and they treat a guest with a great honour. Kazakh cookery is extremely various because of the fact that Kazakhstan is a multinational country and the cuisines of all nations (kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Germans, Polish, Koreans and others) combined into one.

Couple days in January I did english-russian translation for an American who came to visit Astana. He had never been to Kazakhstan or any of FSU coutries before, so it was quite a big culture shock, both in a good and bad ways. He wanted to get to know kazakh culture and we started with authentic food and national meals.

I remember his astonishment when I said that horse was one of the national meals in Kazakhstan. Another shock to him was to find out that there was no menu in English and waitresses were of little help. I thought it might be useful to know more about the culture of the country that one goes to. So I would like to present a point of view of an American who was in Kazakhstan and tried many national meals. I hope it can be both educative and interesting.


By NADIA WHITE, state editor for the Star-Tribune, Wyoming.

Let me confess right up front: My vegetarian habits are on hold.

Take that one more step: I spent most of November eating horse meat, drinking mare’s milk and marveling at the social niceties involved in serving baked sheep’s head.

I am just back from Kazakhstan, where machismo is measured by how much meat one can eat and hospitality in how much a guest is fed. Suffice it to say, the Kazakhs are extraordinary hosts and I am eating more macho than I used to.

During a month in the Central Asian nation, numerous table-filling feasts were spread before me. A spyglass across time, they recall the days when a guest who arrived at a nomad’s yurt would have traveled very, very far, across the steppe, with little in the way of clothing or fine food.

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