5 Common Russian Translation Mistakes
Russian translation is hard work that requires hands-on skills. Knowing how to speak Russian is not the same as knowing how to translate English to Russian. The Russian language is immensely different from English in almost every area, including alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar. As the Russian language is significantly different from English, sub-standard translations can result in translation failure and Russian translation mistakes.
Poorly translated materials, from Russian to English or vice versa, are, at best, frustrating to read or listen to. These translation mistakes could reflect sloppiness, lack of respect for the audience. In addition, the reader can lose credibility in the information it provides and the source that offer the information. So, in this article, we’ll discuss the top five common Russian translation mistakes.
Ignoring the Context in the Russian translation
Translating Russian to English can be too complex for people that are not native speakers of both languages. It is important to understand the intricacies in the word’s meanings and the contexts in these words. This is because Russian has about 200,000 words in comparison to an astounding 1,000,000 words in English.
For example, the Russian word “Вариант” can be translated into the English language as “option” and “variant.” Translators will have to choose the most appropriate word that fits the context. A sentence such as “I have a lot of variants for Russian translation services providers” doesn’t sound right. So, the right word to use in this context is “options.” There are a lot of other words like that in Russian, and the way you use them depends on the context of the sentence.
Overlooking the Word Endings
The Russian language is infamous for its six nominative, genitive, accusative, dative, prepositional, and instrumental. Each case has a specific ending gender and number of nouns. As a result, the nouns in the Russian language can have a lot of variations. To make matters worse, these cases allow a more flexible structure of the sentence than in English. Unlike the English language, which often follows the (subject + verb + object) structure, Russian words can be placed in different orders to form a sentence.
Here is an example:
- Я люблю петь в ванной (I like singing in the bathroom)
- “Люблю я петь в ванной”
- “В ванной петь люблю я”
- “Я петь в ванной люблю”
- “Петь люблю я в ванной”
These examples show that you can basically put the words in almost any order and not be grammatically incorrect. However, this flexibility offered by Russian words is a mixed blessing. So, it is important to ensure each noun ending is right placed since the meaning of the entire sentence could change.
The Word Sequence
Translating word for word in the exact order is a rookie mistake, and it’s a dead giveaway that the translators don’t have an idea of what they are doing. While sentence structure in Russian is not rigid, each sentence variation might change the sentence’s tone, style, and tone. So, sometimes you must be flexible and understand how Russian and English works so that the transited text sounds fluent and natural.
If you are a natural speaker of both Russian and English, you can see the problem almost immediately. This Russian translation mistake also indicates that the translator is using a computer translator that can’t conjugate sentences properly when translating English to Russian and vice versa. Professional Russian translation services hardly make these kinds of mistakes. Professional translators are often verified to make sure this sort of translation mistake doesn’t happen before they can be rated as accomplished in Russian translation.
Using Incorrect Words
While translating to Russian, some translators often use vocabulary in the wrong way. Certain words cannot be translated from Russian to English. For instance, there is no equivalent for the word “Tosca.” This word expresses a feeling, which can be defined as “depression” or “melancholy.” But they don’t manage to communicate the depth of hunger or unhappiness that you can feel for no actual reason, which is conversed through the word “Tosca.” Tosca means “being bored at a specific moment to be more accurate and specific.
The same thing can also be said of translating English to Russian. For instance, you cannot translate “Holy Grail” to Russian. It is better to leave the original term as it is better than forming another word because you believe it is required to translate every single word. This is especially important for a legal document translation.
“Masculine” and “Feminine” Words
The English language is simple because all nouns in this language have the same articles, which means they are gender-neutral, except for those that refer particularly to an animal that has a gender like a buck and a doe. However, it may not be easy to distinguish between masculine or feminine words in the Russian language. All Russian nouns are one of 3 genders – masculine, feminine, or neuter.
When trying to translate English to Russian, choosing one isn’t easy. For instance, a simple word such as a cat can be translated as кот (Masculine) and кошка (Feminine) in Russian. In some cases, the gender of a noun in the Russian language is directly related to the gender of the thing you are referring to.
We hope this article has helped you better understand the intricacies of the Russian language. There are many ways to ruin a translation, and by now, you must have learned why Russian translation is complex. So, you can only avoid ruining your Russian translations by hiring a reputable Russian translation services provider for your content. Keep in mind that speaking Russian and understanding the source language is not enough to translate sensitive documents.
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