ATA 57th Annual Conference Presentations
Turn It Around: Improving Readability in Russian>English Translations
John Riedl, CT | Jennifer Guernsey
(Thursday, 11:15am-12:15pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
Source-language interference plagues even the best translators. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a sentence sound “foreign.” Often, rearranging the order and changing the grammatical role of various elements in the sentence, up to and including complete inversion (“turning it around”), is the key. In this session, the speakers will show how to “turn it around,” with examples from their own work, and then take attendees through relevant practice exercises. These techniques are applicable to a wide variety of texts and even other language pairs. Knowledge of Russian is helpful, but not required.
Textual Cohesion in Russian and English
Laurence Bogoslaw, CT
(Friday, 2:00pm-3:00pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
Mona Baker defines cohesion as “the network of lexical, grammatical, and other relations which provide links between various parts of a text.” Textual cohesion has proven useful in editing and assessing translations because it accounts for why a given translation can be correct in terminology and mechanics, but nevertheless “get it wrong” from the standpoint of the text’s overall design (argument, intention). The speaker will discuss examples of source and target texts in both English and Russian, showing how cohesive devices such as conjunctions and verb forms (tenses, moods, participles) can make all the difference in the overall message.
Idioms in Presidential Campaign News Reports: A Minefield for Translation
Svetlana Beloshapkina | Lydia Razran Stone, CT | Vladimir Kovner
(Friday, 3:30pm-4:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English with Russian examples)
From their standpoint as translators working between Russian and English, the speakers will examine 1,000 idiomatic usages from reports from The Washington Post on the 2016 presidential campaign. They will discuss the paucity of traditional idioms, the frequency of English-specific idiom types (e.g., phrasal verbs), and the ubiquity of sports idioms in this sample. Sources of translation difficulty include polysemy, incomplete references, obscure allusions, puns, usages combining more than one idiom, and the need to consider tone. The speakers will discuss additional difficulties in using Multitran.ru and other resources to find context-appropriate translations. Audience participation is encouraged!
Fact-Finding Mission Reports, Primary Sources, and More: Translating Human Rights Documents from Russian into English
Lucy Gunderson, CT
(Saturday, 8:30am-9:30am; Advanced; Presented in: English)
In the 1990s and early 2000s, many former Soviet states undertook human rights commitments within the framework of various international and European conventions and covenants. Now, with non-governmental organizations coming under greater state scrutiny and vulnerable groups facing increasing threats, human rights work in this part of the world has never been more vital or compelling. This session will review the region’s most pressing human rights issues, introduce attendees to the kinds of documents they will encounter in this specialization, and discuss specific translation challenges and strategies.
Finding Functional Equivalents for Legal Terms in Polish and English
(Saturday, 10:00am-11:00am; Advanced; Presented in: English and Polish)
The speaker will discuss key problems in translating Polish legal texts (e.g., contracts, court letters, and judgments) into English. Different legal systems in Poland and the U.S. or U.K. generate terminological problems in equivalence, which is why it’s important to analyze and compare the two contexts and legal cultures in greater detail. One way to achieve functional equivalence is to compare legal texts in both languages to find key similarities and differences on the textual, lexical, and discursive levels. The speaker will compare such texts and look for the best possible solutions.
In the Shadow of Russian: 40 Years of Translating Polish Literature (Susana Greiss Lecture)
(Saturday, 11:15am-12:15pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
In 1977, the speaker’s first book-length translation from Polish, A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising by Miron Białoszewski, was published by Ardis, a small independent press. Her revised translation, based on the restored and uncensored scholarly edition of the memoir published in Poland in 2014, appeared in 2015 as a New York Review Books Classic. The speaker will discuss her evolution as a translator and re-translator of her own and other translators’ work. She will also discuss U.S. publishers’ evolving openness to Polish literature during the 40 years between her two versions.
ATA 56th Annual Conference Presentations
Early History of Simultaneous Interpreting in the USSR and in the West (Susana Greiss Lecture)
(Thursday, 3:30pm-4:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
This session will focus on the speaker’s research into the invention and early adoption of simultaneous interpreting (SI) in the West and the USSR, based on recently discovered archival documents detailing the independent inventions of SI in 1925 by Edward Filene in the West and Dr. V.Z. Epshtein in the USSR. These inventions led to the development of SI systems and their first full-scale use in Moscow and Geneva in 1928.
Should Grammatical Gender Be Controversial? One Translator’s Point of View: Part I
(Friday, 10:00am-11:00am; Intermediate; Presented in: English and Russian)
Russian is a language with mandatory grammatical gender for nouns and a number of other parts of speech. How much information and intent is built into “gender” as a category and how much of it should be conveyed when translating into English? Why has the subject of grammatical gender become controversial and how do we to deal with that in translation? The speaker will discuss how translators can handle the potential implications of including or excluding masculine or feminine forms when translating, or attributing a gender form on demand when translating between Russian and English.
Should Grammatical Gender Be Controversial? Translation Issues in Russian and English: Part II
(Friday, 11:15am-12:15pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
Russian is a language with mandatory grammatical gender for nouns and a number of other parts of speech. The speaker will discuss cases where “extra” information and intent are built into grammatical gender. Such cases go beyond the typical parameters of the translation task. In such instances, the translator must use a range of contextual (extralinguistic) evidence to make responsible choices. Examples include gender-neutral forms in Russian for which no parallel forms exist in English. Another example includes rhetorical uses where the grammatical gender of an inanimate object (or concept) in Russian functions as a meaningful element (e.g., in a poem or speech).
Grammatical Problems in Going to, Being in, or Leaving Ukraine
(Friday, 2:00pm-3:00pm; Intermediate; Presented in: English, Russian, and Ukrainian)
This session represents a continuation of a study begun in the 1990s that examines a grammatical issue triggered by a geopolitical event. In 1996, several years after Ukraine gained independence, the Ukrainian government issued statements regarding how Ukraine should be referred to in English, Russian, and Ukrainian. In English, this entailed not using the definite article; in Russian and Ukrainian, however, it involved the choice of preposition and case. The speaker will discuss this phenomenon in light of the data sets cited in papers published in 1996 and 2007, as well as new data collected by the speaker.
What Dictionaries Don’t Tell Us
(Friday, 3:30pm-4:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
Dictionaries are our friends. Ideally, we expect them to provide us with every possible meaning of a word, its register and connotations, grammatical and cultural features, as well as its most common collocations. Despite the efforts lexicographers put into their dictionaries, they rarely cover all of these characteristics. Many features of the language remain overlooked. This session will cover the most common deficiencies in English>Russian and Russian>English dictionaries and ways to compensate for these shortcomings. Even if the pursuit of an ideal dictionary is quixotic, striving to make bilingual dictionaries more complete brings us closer to the goal.
Idiom Translation for Slavic Savants
Lydia Stone and Svetlana Beloshapkina
(Saturday, 2:00pm-3:00pm; All Levels; Presented in: English with Russian examples)
Topics discussed during this session will include: 1) recommended dictionaries, websites, and search procedures for translating English and Slavic idiomatic expressions (based on surveys of members of ATA’s Slavic Languages Division); 2) differences and overlap between categories of idiomatic terms in Russian and English; 3) the importance of considering situational, conversational, and emotional contexts when translating idioms; 4) questions of register, including profanity, when translating idioms for various purposes (literature, press, subtitling, interpreting, etc.); 5) creating bilingual dictionaries of specific types of idiomatic expressions, for fun if not profit; and 6) where to find appropriate naturally occurring examples of idiom use.
And You Thought English Articles Were Difficult
(Saturday, 3:30pm-4:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English and Bulgarian)
The speaker will discuss three forms of definite and indefinite articles and 45 Bulgarian demonstratives and how to convey their meaning in English. Common errors in the translation of the English articles into Bulgarian will also be addressed. This session will be conducted in English with English translations/back translations of each of the examples given. Translators of all Slavic languages and Greek may find this session beneficial. Attendees will have the opportunity to share and discuss common translation issues when translating articles and demonstratives between English and their respective languages.
ATA 55th Annual Conference Presentations
Recent Trends in Contemporary Written Russian
(Thursday, 2:00pm-3:00pm; All Levels; Presented in: English and Russian)
The Russian language is undergoing considerable change due to social, economic, and technological developments. The speaker will review major trends in the language “usage and abusage” by contemporary educated Russians. Grammar, punctuation, and syntax errors in Russian documents, mass media publications, advertisements, and translation works will be analyzed. Recommendations will be offered with regard to rules and standards of Russian relevant for translators. Analysis and examples from various texts, ranging from scientific publications to billboards to Internet chat, will be used as a starting point for the discussion on effective translation strategies.
Cut It Out: Improving Readability in Russian>English Technical Translations
Jennifer Guernsey and John Riedl
(Thursday, 3:30pm-4:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
As translators, our first duty is to be faithful to the source text. But slavish faithfulness, particularly when translating technical and medical documents from Russian into English, can result in a text that is awkward and verbose. It seems counterintuitive, but often the best way to improve the text is to omit words. The speakers will describe various types of necessary omissions, with examples from their own work, and then take participants through relevant practice exercises. Knowledge of Russian is not required, as literal English translations of the passages will be provided.
This, That, and the Other: Translating Articles and Demonstratives between English and Slavic Languages
Larisa Zlatic, Laurence Bogoslaw, Emilia Balke, Olga Shostachuk, and Christine Pawlowski
(Friday, 11:30am-12:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
English distinguishes between definite and indefinite articles (“a” versus “the”), and between proximal and distal demonstratives (“this” versus “that”). Although Slavic languages have demonstratives, most of them do not have articles. This session will explore strategies for how to translate articles into languages that do not have them, and how to decide what types of articles and demonstratives to use when translating into English. This session is designed as a panel discussion, allowing experts from several Slavic languages to provide a concise but substantive 10-minute talk based on research and/or experience. Questions will be fielded at the end of the session.
Susana Greiss Lecture: The Translator and the Dictionary
(Friday, 2:30pm-3:30pm; Advanced; Presented in: English)
In the age of Google, the National Russian Corpus, and the online availability of everything, the relationship between translator and dictionary has changed. Topics will include: when translators should turn to dictionaries; what kind of information they can hope, ideally, to find in them; where and why dictionaries often fall short of translators’ expectations; why dictionaries have the capacity to constrict translators’ creativity; and how to use dictionaries to one’s best advantage. The speaker will also address the challenges faced by lexicographers and share her own frequently painful, often rewarding, yet always memorable experiences in dictionary-making.
Son of Sound Effects
Lydia Stone and Svetlana Beloshapkina
(Friday, 4:00pm-5:00pm; All Levels; Presented in: English and Russian)
At the 2013 ATA Annual Conference, the speaker reported on a project addressing Russian and English “sound verbs” (e.g., shriek, crackle). She analyzed similarities and differences between the two sets of verbs and their unique features, developed desiderate for a bilingual dictionary of such verbs, and produced sample pages. With the participation of two native Russian speakers, this session will focus on what problems and discoveries were encountered while working on this dictionary. The results of “sound verb” surveys from Russian and English native speakers will be compared.
Interpreting for International Visitors: Hot Pursuit of Happiness
(Saturday, 8:30am-9:30am; All Levels; Presented in: English and Russian)
Every year dozens of interpreters facilitate communication between hundreds of Russian-speaking visitors and their American counterparts, grappling with multiple popular quotes, one-liners, and aphorisms in both languages while working in the simultaneous mode. To render these expressions skillfully and daintily, interpreters need to enhance their professional “playbooks” (i.e., collections of ready-to-use equivalents that can be easily pulled from their memory). During this session, participants will practice interpreting frequently cited Russian and English iconic texts, humorous expressions, slogans, and catch phrases, thereby expanding their linguistic toolbox.
The Visibility Dilemma: Translating Women’s Job Titles
(Saturday, 10:00am-11:00am; All Levels; Presented in: English)
Style guides for English encourage writers to use gender-inclusive terms for professions (e.g., “police officer” versus “policeman,” or “policewoman”). However, most European languages still differentiate job titles by gender (e.g., the Russian “politseiskii/politseiskaya”). This fact presents special problems for translators. When translating into English, how do we handle a gender-marked term? When translating out of English, how do we “find” a gender-neutral term? This session will offer examples of how our decisions affect the visibility of women. Such choices hinge not just on stylistic rules of a language, but on power relations, societal roles, stereotypes, and values that operate within a culture.
Staying Trendy in Slavic: Translating Polish Constructions Expressing Changing Trends, Ratios, and Numerical Figures
(Saturday, 11:30am-12:30pm; Advanced; Presented in: English)
This session will examine some ways in which processes of change (trends) and numerical evaluations (ratios and figures) are conceptualized in Slavic. The speaker will focus on problematic trend- and ratio-related words in Polish, such as “coraz” (increasingly), “dynamika” (dynamics), “udzial” (share), and “struktura” (structure), surveying potential successful/unsuccessful routes of translation into English. Examples will predominately be drawn from Polish, but some analogous Slavic examples will also be discussed (e.g., the Russian “dinamika”). Participants will come away with a broader set of techniques at their fingertips for fielding such constructions in business- and science-related contexts.
Interpreting Profanity Over the Phone
Dariia Leshchuk Moss
(Saturday, 4:00pm-5:00pm; Beginner; Presented in: English)
The most interesting and difficult part of interpreting a telephonic conversation is that the interpreter is remote. The only way of passing information is through the professional’s voice and intonation. This works well until the situation becomes a conflict over the phone involving aggressive conduct and profanity. The advantages and disadvantages of telephone conversations and detailed implementations of taboo vocabulary will be explored during this session. Russian, due to its culture’s rich profanity, will be the main language discussed in this session, but examples in French, Spanish, and some other languages will be included.
ATA 54th Annual Conference Presentations
Sound Effects in Russian<>English Translation
by Lydia Razran Stone and Vladimir Kovner
The translation of verbs referring to the production of a particular sound may present significant challenges; it certainly does in Russian<>English translation. Bilingual dictionaries frequently add to the confusion. The speakers will attempt to cast some light on this situation by examining frequently encountered sound verbs from both languages. Attendees will try to identify the dimensions of sounds described by sound verbs and suggest strategies for their translation.
When to Be “Polite” (or Not) in User Interface Localization
by Larisa Zlatic
Are there any firm rules for when to use the Slavic “vi” (formal or polite “you”) and when to use “ti” (informal “you”) in website and user interface localization? As a long-time localizer into Serbian and Croatian, the speaker has tried to come up with such rules, but there are still instances where both “vi” and “ti” seem correct. Such fuzzy expressions can make our translation inconsistent. The speaker will offer some strategies for choosing between the two terms.
The Return of False Cognates
by Steve Shabad
As in any language pair, the key challenge for the Russian>English translator is to tread the fine line between crafting readable, idiomatic English and remaining as faithful as possible to the original text. This session will examine some of the main pitfalls in this process. Topics to be addressed include false cognates and some of the finer points of Russian phraseology that are often mistranslated. Although examples will come largely from legal and business documents, they can be applied to a wide range of subjects.
CAT Breed for the Slavic Soul
by Konstantin Lakshin
For many years, efforts to develop computer-aided translation (CAT) tools have concentrated on analytic Western European languages. As a result, most existing tools disregard the highly inflected nature of Slavic languages, which makes them much less appealing for Slavic translators in terms of expected productivity gains. This session will focus on three core issues: 1) what Slavic-language translators should keep in mind when selecting a CAT tool; 2) what Slavic-friendly features are available, and what is still missing in existing CAT tools; and 3) what language technologies are available to make CAT tools more Slavic-friendly.
Translating Administrative Documents Between English and Polish
by Magdalena Perdek
Administrative documents are not only filled with domain-specific terminology, but also feature characteristic discourse and style. These documents can prove to be quite challenging for a translator trying to facilitate intercultural communication. In this session, Polish and English documents related to employment, welfare, disability status, immigration, and tax reporting will be discussed. Examples of the most difficult terms will be included. These terms reflect not only the difference between legal and administrative systems, but also different approaches in writing styles.
Talks in Other Tracks Reviewed in SlavFile
Translating “Politically Correct” Language
by Laurence Bogoslaw
We may sometimes make fun of “politically correct” language, but it has become a vital strategy for conveying respect in English-language official documents. A common problem in translating such documents is preserving the spirit of respectful communication without overstretching target-language norms of grammar and usage. In this hands-on workshop, attendees will receive a list of English phrases addressing such areas as gender-neutral communication, disabilities, and medical diagnoses. We will then brainstorm ideas for translating the phrases into other languages. Attendees will be encouraged to share their own relevant examples.
The Dos and Taboos of Conference Interpreting and Why You Should Heed Them
by Yulia Tsaplina
The world of conference interpreting has both clear-cut standards and implicit rules. Topics will include equipment standards and team composition, the “unwritten rules” of behavior in the booth and interpreter etiquette, and what to look for in a contract. This session is intended for recent graduates of interpreting schools, interpreters with experience in other settings (e.g., judicial interpreting), conference organizers, and agencies.
Handle with Care: Practical Considerations for Using the New Machine Translations of Chinese Patents
by Irina Knizhnik
The European Patent Office, in collaboration with Google, has introduced a system of machine translation for patents from the People’s Republic of China. This system offers some unique benefits, as well as some unique challenges, to translators. The speaker will discuss this system, with examples from practical experience.
Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian: Translating and Interpreting War Crimes Trials
by Marijana Nikolic
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established in 1993 as a measure for restoring peace in the region. Almost two decades later, its success can be measured-not only by the number of convictions it has reached or the jurisprudence it has generated-but also by the way it has enabled communication and understanding amongst its participants and reached out to the communities concerned. This presentation focused on the challenges of translating and interpreting complex types of text and discourse in the adversarial environment of international criminal trials.
ATA 53rd Annual Conference Presentations
Slavic Languages Division Roundtable: Translation versus Interpreting
Jennifer L. Guernsey, Yuliya Tsaplina, Emma Garkavi, Natalia Petrova, Lynn Visson, Boris M. Silversteyn, and Elena Bogdanovich-Werner
This roundtable discussion will feature professional translators and interpreters from varied fields, including business, legal, literary, and medical. Each panelist will make a short introductory statement and discuss the challenges they encounter. This will be followed by a discussion of how the experiences of both interpreters and translators can prove to be mutually enriching (and, occasionally, frustrating). The issues discussed will be applicable to both Slavic and other languages.
Approximately 25 Dreams of Dagestan
Lydia Razran Stone
The speaker has identified a number of English translations of Lermontov’s famous and seemingly semantically straightforward 20-line rhymed iambic pentameter poem, The Dream. Translators range from Vladimir Nabokov to apparent rank amateurs. Through a comparison if these translations, the speaker will attempt to develop some metrics of translation quality, based on all but the most subjective elusive aspects of semantic and formal fidelity and other desiderata.
Objects, Subjects, Power Verticals, and Party Lines: Differing Mental Constructs in Russian and English
Nora S. Favorov
Across cultures, cognates never occupy exactly the same semantic space. Many of the most troublesome Russian>English cognates involve spatial concepts and relationships between people and/or things. This session will focus on practical solutions in dealing with such terms as bases, objects, subjects, lines, and other imperfect English>Russian cognates. While primarily for Russian>English translators, this session should be of interest to translators and interpreters working in both directions. Numerous examples from the speaker’s own practice will be provided and audience feedback is expected and encouraged.
Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian: Translating and Interpreting War Crimes Trials
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established in 1993 as a measure for restoring peace in the region. Almost two decades later, its success can be measured-not only by the number of convictions it has reached or the jurisprudence it has generated-but also by the way it has enabled communication and understanding amongst its participants and reached out to the communities concerned. This presentation will focus on the challenges of translating and interpreting complex types of text and discourse in the adversarial environment of international criminal trials.
Lacunas in Translation
Anastasia L. Koralova
The tapestry of our native tongue seems to be perfectly solid until we start translating. Only then do we notice that it has some holes in it. They are lacunas, which indicate that the language has bypassed some concepts, leaving them without names. As a result, some words or set expressions may have no equivalent in the target language even though the concepts they designate are common in both cultures. Should the translator circumvent those holes or try to “patch” them? If a patch is attempted, what kind should be chosen?
Autopsy Reports in Polish and English: Translation, Terminology, and Style
Autopsy reports are important medicolegal documents crucial in criminal or civil proceedings and reflecting the scientific expertise of a medical examiner. Their content and style varies considerably in Polish and English, mainly due to different legal systems and procedures. In this session, the format of a Polish autopsy report will be presented along with major formal, terminological, and stylistic problems likely to occur when translating it into English. Polish and American autopsy reports will be then compared. English terminology and style will be presented following the guidelines for autopsy reports issued by autopsy pathologists.
How to Enter the Russian Translation Market
American translators in the Russian>English pair should not overlook opportunities to offer their services in the enormous and rapidly growing Russian translation market. However, partnering with customers located abroad involves some challenges. This session will include a general profile of Russian customers, a description of the typical problems that may arise in working with them, and approaches to finding solutions.
ATA 52nd Annual Conference Presentations
Translating the Songs of Bulat Okudzhava
Lydia Razran Stone and Vladimir J. Kovner
The presenters will discuss the issues involved in translating into English the songs of Bulat Okudzhava, the most influential Russian “bard” (singer songwriter) of the 20th century. One of the presenters was an active participant in the Bard movement, and will share his insights on its nature and significance. He will also provide the lion’s share of musical understanding for the translation. The presenters have been collaborating on Russian<>English poetic translations for six years. This project required even closer cooperation than usual, and the collaboration procedure
eventually worked out will be described in detail.
RValent: In Russia, Translators Have a (Publishing) House to Call Home
In 1992, the presenter founded RValent Publishers. Since then, despite limited experience working as a translator or interpreter herself, she has presided over a company that serves as Russia’s primary forum for discussion of translation theory and practice. Many of the top minds in the field publish books with RValent and contribute to Mosty, its journal for translators and interpreters. The presenter will share the RValent story and discuss the state of the profession in Russia today and the challenges confronted by a business like hers. This presentation will be simultaneously interpreted by a former UN interpreter.
English Phrasal Verbs in Translation: A Lexicographic and Corpus Study of Equivalence
The presentation will examine selected Polish equivalents of English phrasal verbs (PVs) as presented in bilingual English>Polish dictionaries and found in a parallel corpus (PHRAVERB) compiled for the purpose of the study. The lexicographic equivalents have been analyzed in terms of their precision in reference to the English definitions of PVs, their usability in the translation of corpus-derived sentences and dictionary examples, and finally, their collocational relations. The corpus equivalents have also been examined in terms of their form (i.e., whether they are verbal, nominal, or phrasal). In addition, the use of metaphor in translation of PVs has also been investigated.
How Virtual Networking Is Changing the Mentality of Russian Freelancers: A Case Study
In 2001, the “Planet Earth, Translators’ City” project was launched to create a virtual global village for Russian-speaking translators and interpreters. It proved to be a popular professional social networking environment, helping to educate neophytes and shaping the professional culture and its subcultures. Then, the project spilled over into reality, inducing a wave of major offline conferences in Russia. Today, the City boasts an estimated 4,000 daily visitors from nearly 130 countries. This presentation will cover the history of this unique project and its impact on the market reality.
Coping with Challenges of Simultaneous Interpreting into Russian in Courtroom Settings
Irina Y. Jesionowski
The language of American courts is chock-full of compact, meaning-dense terms and expressions that present an inherent challenge when interpreting them into Russian in the simultaneous mode at the breakneck speed required of courtroom discourse. This presentation will offer several case studies on compensating for the lack of equivalent legal concepts in Russian law. Topics will include coping with verboseness of the Russian language as well as with syntactical challenges such as adjectival clusters and adjective-noun agreement. Participants will be encouraged to
take part in the discussion, offer their solutions to interpreting puzzles, and complete interpretation exercises.
Notes on Notes, or How to Secure the Correct Meaning When Translating Securities Stuff
After reviewing some basic concepts, this presentation will deal with the more difficult issues involved with the English<>Russian translation of texts on securities and structured financial instruments. General concepts and principles will be illustrated by examples. Special attention will be paid to differentiate the degrees of freedom that translators have, depending on the nature of the text, its target audience, and other factors.
ATA 51st Annual Conference Presentations
The Persuasive Art of Translation
Whether computers can think remains a question for debate. It is clear, however, that computers do not engage in persuasive acts (e.g., rhetoric). This becomes especially evident when one considers the rhetorical aspects of human translation. The presenter will explore the implications of translation as a form of persuasion-as speech intended to move an audience-using examples from technical and literary translations.
Taking the Russian>English Certification Exam
Nora S. Favorov and James E. Walker
While this session is primarily designed for people interested in taking the Russian>English certification exam, it may also be informative for those who are thinking about taking the exam in other language combinations. The presenters (who are also certification graders) will review the core documents used in grading ATA certification exams. They will use specific Russian>English examples to illustrate how exams are graded. A number of examples will focus on the issue of idiomatic versus literal translation
Contemporary Russian: Enhanced Vocabulary, Endangered Syntax
The social upheaval and the new openness of Russia to the world continue to cause considerable changes in the Russian language. The presenter will review major trends in the development of the Russian language, including the influence of American culture and technology. Regretfully, disregard for the rules and standards of Russian grammar and syntax is widespread in Russian mass media, politics, and commerce. Analysis and examples from various texts will serve as a starting point for the discussion on effective translation strategies.
Launch Campaign! Developing and Using Rocket and Space Terminology
This session will focus on the technical terminology used in the course of a multinational “campaign” to launch a communications satellite into orbit from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Besides the terms themselves, techniques will be discussed for developing subject-area terminology from various sources. Terms that are used commonly in the broader rocket and space community will be compared.
Introduction to Baby Talk for Translators and Interpreters
Lydia Razran Stone
A woman tells her houseguests they will have to “stand in the corner” if they do not stop bickering. A man catches his coworker pocketing office supplies and responds with the playground threat, “I’m telling.” Why use “baby talk” to address adults? We will discuss various purposes and effects of using children’s phrases in adult communications in order to help translators and interpreters recognize and render their literal and communicative meanings. Cross-cultural issues will be emphasized and Russian<>English glossaries will be provided. Although we will use Russian examples, we will try to make this session completely understandable to speakers of all languages.
A Hot-Blooded Young Miss From Kamchatka: Issues in Translating Limericks from Russian<>English
Vladimir J. Kovner and Lydia Razran Stone
The limerick has had a long history of use in English for humorous nonsense poems (often salacious) and social commentary. Recently, limericks have become a preferred form for expressing epigrammatic satirical wit in Russian. The presenters have been translating limericks between Russian and English and have confronted translation dilemmas that have relevance beyond this particular form. The nature, history, and uses of the limerick and why it is so suited to the purposes it has served will be discussed. The presenters will also focus on translation issues and some of their solutions, illustrating their points with bilingual examples.
ATA 50th Annual Conference Presentations
Translating Legal Text to/from Russian/English
Fred Grasso, Maksym Kozub, and Thomas E. Fennell
This presentation will review several important principles, including fidelity versus transparency and plain English versus terms of art (also known as “legalese”). Differences among legal systems and their implications for translation will be discussed briefly. General concepts and principles will be illustrated by examples, including problematic ones. Special emphasis will be given to contracts, corporate law, arbitration courts and procedures, and legal translation issues related to securities. Civil law litigation concepts and terminology will be examined. Troublesome general usage vocabulary in legal texts will be identified and explained.
Noob No Longer: Making the Most of Internet Resources in Translation
Eugenia A. Tumanova and Megan G. Lehmann
The ability to effectively mine Internet resources for information and make use of free Internet tools is key for boosting efficiency and improving quality. The first half of this session will focus on search engine strategies and tricks, online dictionaries, and other resources, while the second half will show how to maximize efficiency in collaborating with other translators on large projects using Google Docs, Google Sites, customized search engines, and instant messaging. Examples from the Russian to English combination and other languages will illustrate general principles, strategies, and tips that will help translators with any language combination.
Blind Date: How to Tackle the Sprouting of New Terms in Croatian and Serbian
Larisa Zlatic, Ph.D.
Political and economic changes in Eastern Europe have had a huge linguistic influence on Slavic languages. This presentation will provide solutions for keeping up to date with contemporary sociolinguistic trends, and will cover English-as-a-global-language issues. Topics will include how to tackle the overwhelming influence of English terms in such areas as the economy and information technology industry. Examples and practical tips in English, Croatian, and Serbian will be provided along with solutions for common traps and typical errors in translation. Emphasis will be on the translation of obstacles common to other Slavic languages.
Translation and Interpreting in a Pragmatic Age (12th Annual Susana Greiss Lecture)
The profession of translator/interpreter is unique, requiring years of preparation, constant “upgrading,” and knowledge in many areas. This often leads to the translator/interpreter having the kind of broad erudition and ability to handle complex issues that many feel would be more appropriate for a person with “greater responsibilities”—and better pay. In a pragmatic age, this makes the profession unlikely to be among the most attractive ones. This presentation will discuss the type of person who will find this work attractive and the differences that exist in this regard across countries and cultures.
Pharmaceuticals for Slavists
Jennifer L. Guernsey and John W. Riedl
Demand for translations of pharmaceutical documentation is considerable. This presentation will explore the typical structure of these documents and review related terminology. A multilingual glossary will be provided that includes English, Russian, Ukrainian, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Polish, Slovene, Macedonian, and Bulgarian.
ATA 49th Annual Conference Presentations
Russian<>English: Types of English Borrowings in Russian and New Translation Problems
Anastasia L. Koralova
Over the past few decades, English words, expressions, and notions have been invading the Russian language. Russian language purists consider this trend harmful. Others, journalists in particular, intensively incorporate foreign borrowings and believe that by doing so they are bridging the two cultures. Are borrowings imposters or a boon? Do they really bring the two cultures closer? Do borrowings make a translator’s task easier, or do they create new problems? This session will attempt to find answers to these questions.
Software Tools for Slavists, Parts I & II
Becky Blackley, Fred Grasso, Jennifer L. Guernsey, and John W. Riedl
Translators working in Cyrillic-based languages have particular software needs. In this presentation, panelists will discuss their experiences using various software programs, with an emphasis on their utility to Slavic-language translators. Software to be covered includes tools such as Trados and WordFast; electronic dictionaries such as Lingvo, Context, and Multitran; Cyrillic keyboard programs; and the optical character recognition program ABBYY FineReader. In addition to an assessment of each tool, the panelists will present some helpful hints for getting the most out of the tools. Time will be made available for questions and discussion.
Susanna Greiss Lecture: Leo Tolstoy and War and Peace
Anthony P. Briggs
The speaker will describe this famous novel—accepted by many as the greatest ever written—and his experience translating it into English over a four-year period. He will outline his translation strategy, and give examples of the difficulties, headaches, and rewards that all translators will immediately recognize. As a way to demonstrate the infinite possibilities that translators face at every stage of their work, attendees will be asked to translate nine easy Russian words in one sentence. In keeping with the Greiss Lecture tradition, the speaker will also spend some time talking about the interests that led him to Russian>English translation.
An Exploration of Complementary Language Partnerships
Svetolik P. Djordjevic, Nora S. Favorov, Paula S. Gordon, Vladimir J. Kovner, and Lydia Razran Stone
This panel presentation will focus on the advantages of two translators with complementary native languages forming a partnership. The panel members will consist of three “teams” who have taken advantage of such partnerships in different ways. One team edits each other’s work for clients. Another is compiling a major bilingual medical dictionary. A third has worked on a number of creative projects generating presentations and books. Ample time will be provided for audience questions and discussion.
Ask the Experts: Advice for Novice (and Not So Novice) Interpreters
In this session, interpreters new to the profession or the U.S. market will have a chance to ask experts about issues ranging from how to find training, maintain/develop professional skills, and seek career contacts, to how to stay fit and not burn out juggling interpreting assignments and translation jobs. The sessions will start with questions prepared in advance, but will move on to include questions from the audience. This presentation will have a Slavic slant, but will focus on general interpreting issues regardless of language. It will be conducted in English.
Translating Legal Russian into English
Thomas E. Fennell and Fred Grasso
This will be a session with extensive audience participation. First, we will review several important principles, including fidelity versus transparency for different type of texts, and the choice between plain English and legalese. We will also briefly discuss certain differences between legal systems that frequently impact translation. Next, we will discuss a series of examples of particularly common and problematic phrases. We look forward to lively discussions on some of the most problematic examples, and expect that the collective wisdom of the assembled experts will guide us to the best solutions.
ATA 48th Annual Conference Presentations
Aid for the Imperfectly Articulate: Tips on English Article Usage
Vladimir J. Kovner and Lydia Razran Stone
Slavic nonnative speakers of English, no matter how fluent and erudite, tend to have difficulty using articles properly. Understanding the definite/indefinite distinction does not unambiguously determine correct usage. From actual examples of confusions and errors in article usage made by Slavic nonnative speakers, we will attempt to identify subtleties that create stumbling blocks and derive usable strategies for selecting the correct form in these cases. The presenters have considerable experience with these issues, and can consider them from the perspective of the nonnative speaker, translator, grader, editor, and teacher of English as a second language.
Translating Court Forms: Lessons Learned
Emma A. Garkavi
This session will present an overview of the translation of arraignment rights, scheduling notices, guilty pleas, and a variety of other court forms into Russian. Terminology will also be discussed.
Susanna Greiss Lecture: Lost in Translation—The Verbal Content of Visual Art
The idea that visual art transcends language implies that art allows cultural exchange without the need for learning a language. In fact, works of art are deeply rooted in verbal culture. This session uses material ranging from Russian icons to Soviet cartoons to show how pictures from one culture can have a very different meaning in another culture—or even have no meaning at all—without the translation of their visual language or its explication in words.
Translation and Corporate Governance in Russia
Megan G. Lehmann
This terminology-based presentation will focus on translation and corporate governance in Russia today, specifically for banks and financial organizations. Topics will include working with the board of directors and the management board, as well as translating meeting minutes, board committee reports, internal regulatory documents, and other material. The speaker will provide an overview of the basics of Russian legislation for translation and other regulatory requirements, discuss nondisclosure agreements, and present information on major international rating agencies.
1001 Ways of Translating Children’s Poetry from Russian into English
Elena S. McGivern
As any translator with relevant experience will agree, the language of poetry is stubborn and requires an innovative approach. This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of the methods used to overcome the challenges associated with translating poetry. Participants will be invited to suggest their own rhymes in the rendition of original Russian verses.
ATA 47th Annual Conference Presentations
Susana Greiss Lecture: Translating Genres, Styles, and Realities
Michele A. Berdy
Michele Berdy discussed how she has applied the insights her career (and life) path has led her to in her work as a translator and interpreter. Working in media and communications she translated constantly, often for herself. “As a translator I care about words. As a client, I care more about audience, genre, communicative goal, and emotional impact. My experience has clarified my notion of a “good translation,” but the fast-forward language evolution in Russia makes ‘good translation’ an increasingly elusive goal.” Ms. Berdy’s lecture will be reviewed in the Spring 2007 SlavFile.
My Crude Ain’t Your Oil
This presentation provided an overview of the basic technical concepts necessary for language professionals to understand before they venture into translating or interpreting for the petroleum industry. In addition to some basic geology and engineering concepts, Lakshin walked his audience through some clever methods that can be used to determine equivalent terminology when it is not provided by dictionaries.
Translation of English Language Advertising Materials: Use of Adoptions and Their Grammatical Assimilation in Russian
Elena S. McGivern
This lively presentation addressed the numerous cultural and linguistic mis-matches between English and Russian that have led to the use of inappropriate terms and strategies in Russian-language advertisements. See the Winter 2007 SlavFile for a review of this session.
The Name of the Game: Russian Translation of English Expressions Drawn from Sports
Vladmir J. Kovner and Lydia Razran Stone
The presenters have compiled a copious list of English-language sports idioms, phrases, and metaphors, which may prove troublesome to language professionals required to translate them into Russian (or any other language). They took examples from their list, which is part of an ongoing effort to create a bilingual glossary, and explained the meanings and usages of these phrases and also discussed the relative roles of sports and sports idioms in Russian and American culture. This presentation will be reviewed in the Spring 2007 SlavFile.
Looking at the Overlooked: Sentencing, Paragraphing, and Textual Cohesion in Russian>English Translation
Brian James Baer and Tatyana Y. Bystrova-McIntyre
This session presented the results of research comparing Russian and English corpora to isolate differences in sentencing and paragraphing and situate those differences within a broader discussion of textual cohesion. Their research demonstrates the importance of dealing appropriately with non-semantic textual elements in translation. This session will be reviewed in the Spring 2007 SlavFile.
Lying to Tell the Truth: Are There Limits to Pragmatic Adaptation in Poetry?
Exploring “distortions” in translations of a book of children’s poetry in English by Ann McGovern, Koralova defended the “deep transformations” of the poems made by the translator to adapt them for an audience of Russian children. This session is reviewed in the Winter 2007 SlavFile.
ATA 46th Annual Conference Presentations
Terminology in Legal and Social Services Brochures
Emma A. Garkavi and Vadim Khazin
This session stems from the speakers’ experience in translating into Russian concepts that are only now emerging in that language. Translating terminology used in American small claims court, by collection agencies, and concerning tenants’ rights, living wills, and affidavits of support requires a deep understanding of both U.S. and Russian/Soviet legal concepts and culture. Social services translation (and interpretation) is a growing field, as federal, state, and local government increasingly strives to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
Boon or Bane? What You Should Know about the English>Russian and Russian>English Certification Exams
Marina Aranovich and James E. Walker
The presenters are certification exam graders. In addition to providing background information on passage selection and grading procedures, typical examples of translation errors from past exams were discussed. See a related article on the front page of the Winter 2006 SlavFile.
Idioms: A Major Source of Translators’ Mistakes
Anastasia L. Koralova
See Dr. Koralova’s fascinating paper in the conference proceedings for an overview of this presentation, which combined analysis of the complex semantics of idioms with practical tips on proper usage and translation. Dr Koralova has taught translation at Moscow Linguistic University and is currently teaching Russian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Of Camels, Virgins, and Perrier Cognacs
Konstantin I. Lakshin
Konstantin Lakshin’s previous presentations in Phoenix and Toronto (reviewed in the Winter 2004 and Spring 2005 issues of SlavFile) were highlights of those two conferences for many of us in the SLD. This presenter has a talent for discerning translation error patterns, which he illustrates with well-chosen examples from real documents. Here, he examined a few very serious translation problems that are all too common in business, legal, and technical translations into Russian and examine strategies for avoiding them. Session review to be published in the Spring 2006 issue of SlavFile.
Annual Susana Greiss Lecture: Medical Translators and Medical Dictionaries
Svetolik P. Djordjevic
Until his recent retirement, Paul Djordjevic was a translator for the Social Security Administration working in French and all the Slavic Languages, among others. His frustration with the lack of adequate resources for translators turned him into a sort of accidental lexicographer. The second edition of his French>English Dictionary of Medicine came out in 2004, and he will soon publish an English>Serbian medical dictionary and a Croatian and Serbian>English medical dictionary, each containing over 45,000 entries. Session reviewed in the Winter 2006 SlavFile.
Between Norms and Style: Translating Punctuation (Russian>English)
Brian James Baer and Tatyana Y. Bystrova-McIntyre
Where do norms end and style begin? The speakers (who are both from Kent State University’s translation program, where Brian James Baer is an associate professor of Russian translation and Tatyana Bystrova-McIntyre recently received her MA) presented research data on “key differences both in the type and in the frequency of punctuation used in English and Russian publitsistika.”
This is a Fact: Mistakes of Russians in English
What kinds of mistakes do Russians commonly make in English due to a lack of understanding of the Anglo-American cultural context? The author of a book on this subject, Русские проблемы в английской речи: слова и фразы в контексте двух культур [Russian Problems in English Speech: Words and Phrases in the Context of Two Cultures], Lynn Visson examined examples of verbal behaviors that occasion misunderstanding and are rooted in cultural differences regarding polite discourse, social conversation, and formal statements.
Translating Humorous Russian Poems for Children: Word Games and Pet Names, Pit Falls, Prat Falls, and Tough Calls
Vladimir Kovner and Lydia Razran Stone
The speakers share a long-term interest in translating children’s poetry. They both read their translations (from English into Russian for Mr. Kovner and Russian into English for Ms. Stone) of children’s verse and discussed the translation challenges involved. Their 37-page handout, “An Alphabestiary: The ABC’s of Russian <> English Translation of Children’s Poetry” is a treasure trove of examples, history, and theory related to Russian<>English children’s poetry translation, starting with Aesopian language and ending with renowned Russian author, Boris Zakhoder.
ATA 45th Annual Conference Presentations
Vital Medical Supplies: Creating a Russian to English Medical Glossary for the Real World
Nora S. Favorov, Irina E. Markevich, P. Elana Pick and Lydia R. Stone
Anyone working in Russian-English medical translation will agree: there is not a bilingual dictionary in existence that can be called reliable or versatile. Many dictionaries are over-reliant on cognates that do not reflect accepted usage. Translators are constantly forced to research terms in monolingual references and on the internet. A discussion of how medical interpreters and translators address this problem, including a closer look at several problematic terms.
No Translation Needed! The Sequel
Konstantin I. Lakshin
This interactive session is a follow-up to last year’s presentation that dealt with lexical interference in English-to-Russian translation. This time, we will take a closer look at syntax and pragmatic interferences. These are a source of perpetual frustration for many end-users who find the level of risk associated with such interferences unacceptable and are willing to pay premium for accent-free translations. The practical goal of this session is to identify and discuss solutions to common syntactical problems, including but not limited to those encountered in technical, legal and advertising texts.
Slavic Game Show: Double Jeopardy
In keeping with its tradition, ATA’s Slavic Languages Division will offer a fun test in a game show setting. Participants will be involved in a lively, exciting, and intellectually stimulating activity. They will have ample opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and incite cross-cultural humor. Everyone is welcome!
Runet Roadmap: What’s Where on the Russian Internet
The Runet, or Russian Internet, has grown significantly over the past several years. It contains a wealth of information of importance to people working in the Russian and English language pair. This presentation will describe the major “regions” of the Runet and show how they can be used by translators for background information, research, terminology hunts, as well as light entertainment. Effective techniques for searching and browsing the Runet will also be highlighted.
Difficulties Encountered by Speakers of English When Using Russian
This presentation will focus on the typical mistakes made by English speakers who study and use Russian. An attempt will be made to explain why these mistakes occur and what could be done to avoid them.
Annual Susanna Greiss Lecture: Translating Russia
Paul Richardson, Editor and Publisher of Russian Life magazine
Please read a brief description of the lecture or read Joseph Bayerl’s review of the lecture in the Winter 2005 SlavFile issue.
ATA 44th Annual Conference Presentations
Regulatory Documentation as a Source of Most Rigorous Terminology
A guide to using regulatory documentation (along with manufacturers’ brochures, catalogues, etc.) as the best source of terminology in translating engineering literature.
No Translation Needed!
A look at Russian neologisms that first appeared in Russian documents translated from English. Established Russian alternatives to such terms as прайслист, акессуары and дедлайн do exist. The presentation explored many aspects of the practice of replacing established terminology with neologisms.
Croatian English: Background, Experiences and Resources
Marijan A. Boskovic
Presentation on the Croatian language and English Croatian translation from historical and cultural relations viewpoints.
The Trials and Tribulations of Cataloging the Obvious
2003 Annual Susana Greiss Lecture
Our speaker describes what gave rise to her interest in the role of common knowledge in culture, and how that interest grew into her two books, The Russian’s World and Russian Context.
A Crash Course in Inferential Statistics and Experimental Design for Russian Translators
An overview of the procedures and terms in statistics and research design from the standpoint of Russian-English translation.
ATA 43rd Annual Conference Presentations
Slavic Game Show: Double Jeopardy
Larissa Kulinich and Steve Shabad
Translation challenges and word games for R<>E translators
U.S. Legal Terms: How to Say it in Russian and Ukrainian
Vadim Khazin and Boris Silversteyn
Workshop on translating U.S. legal terminology.
Annual Susana Greiss Lecture
Michael Henry Heim
Thirty Years before the Slavic Mast: The Personal Narrative of a Literary Translator
The speaker is a literary translator and professor of Slavic languages and literatures, UCLA.
Translating Toads, Constructing Camels
Nora Favorov, Alex Lane, Lydia Stone
Three panelists share their translations of Alexander Pushkin’s 1830 poem “Стихи сочиненные ночью во время бессоницы” and receive audience input.
Navigating the Cyrillic “Swamp”: Understanding Encoding
An explanation of the major encodings used to display Cyrillic characters and an overview of common problems that arise in Russian-language word processing, file sharing, internet browsing and e-mail.
The Influence of English Syntax on Nominal and Adjectival Word-Formation Models in Technical Russian
A report on linguistic research findings concerning trends in Russian word formation in technical writing.
Son of False Cognates: More Russian-English “Relatives” that Go Their Own Way
A follow up on last year’s presentation of commonly misused false cognates in R<>E translation.
ATA 42nd Annual Conference Presentations
Annual Susana Greiss Lecture
Patricia Newman The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful
Speaker Patricia Newman shares the story behind the 4th edition of Callaham’s Russian-English Dictionary of Science and Technology, her memories of Ludmilla Callaham and her own experiences as a long-time consumer of translation and interpretation services.
Audience-oriented Translation for the General Public
Workshop on translating brochures and forms for wide dissemination. Numerous examples of materials translated for New York City’s large Russian-speaking population serve to illustrate the important points in this field of translation.
Recent Issues in Russian and English Translation: Avoiding the Pitfalls and Overcoming Business and Technical Challenges
Practical tips to help today’s R<>E translators work effectively, maintain an image of professionalism and make themselves valuable to their clients.
Russian-English Cognates that Go Their Own Way
A review of common “false friends” known to trip up translators working in R<>E.
Double Jeopardy: A bilingual Game Show for Russian<>English Translators and Interpreters
Vadim Khazin and Lydia Stone
Part idiom workshop, part game show-challenges for R<>E translators.
Challenges in Translating Russian Financial Statements
An overview of the problems and pitfalls involved in translating Russian balance sheets and financial statements into English.
New Terminology in Polish
An examination of new Polish terminology and changes in the meaning of old terms over the course of Poland’s first decade of integration into the West.