Voices from Russia

Thursday, 11 September 2014

11 September 2014. Translation… Is It a Science or Is It an Art?

01 lets talk


Here’s a colloquy between a Cabineteer and me:

You translated “skačet” as “dancing” and not “jumping (up & down)”.

It’s derogatory in both senses… I was hesitating between both… my Russian dictionaries (I consulted several) gave me “galloping”, “prancing”, “dancing”, “springing”, and “jumping” for скачка. It even has uses for “horse racing”. None of the intended meanings is complimentary. I take it as an insulting “aside” whatever you choose. It isn’t common usage in real formal Russian; perhaps, it’s something that took on another meaning in the Galician pidgin dialect.

I always understood it to mean, “To jump up and down”. I think that their lingo doesn’t have this word and they had to borrow a word from Rusin! When they chant it, they do jump up and down. In Prešov, the people who’re in favour of the patriots told them to keep doing it, to keep on jumping, “It’ll help keep you warm in the upcoming brutal Russian winter!”


Translation is an art form… it has aspects of science to it, to be sure. I consulted my Russian sources on this, but it’s clear that it has taken on different meanings in informal and colloquial non-standard dialectical usage. This is the kind of thing that I encourage in my Cabinet… it keeps me honest and to the point. The person involved knows the non-standard usages better than I do (I’ll admit that I’m best with standard formal Russian), so, it’s something that I’ll attend to in future. Translation is an art… and artists do draw from life (that’s what plein aire is all about). As such is so, when life “talks back”, it behoves the translator to listen to it!


Monday, 21 April 2014

21 April 2014. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Linguistic Diversity of the Planet

00 RIA-Novosti Infographic. The Liguistic Diversity of the Planet. 21.04.14


Since 2000, 21 February is International Mother Language Day, promoting linguistic/cultural diversity and multilingualism. This RIA-Novosti Infographic illustrates living, endangered, and extinct languages ​​in the world and in Russia. Language is the most powerful tool for the conservation and development of the world’s cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Any activity to promote and pass on mother tongues won’t only promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism, but also foster a more complete understanding of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world, as well as solidarity based on understanding, tolerance, and dialogue. Through International Mother Language Day, UNESCO encourages countries to develop, maintain, and intensify activities aimed at fostering respect for and promoting and protecting all languages ​​(especially, endangered languages,), linguistic diversity, and multilingualism.

21 February 2014




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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

VRNS Accused Ukrainian Junta of Attacking Russian Language Rights



A Portrait of Aleksandr Pushkin

Vasili Tropinin



On Tuesday, the Human Rights Centre of the World Russian People’s Council (VRNS) called on the Ukrainian junta to maintain an equitable language policy in the country. In a statement transmitted by the VRNS to Interfax, “It’s symbolic that the first (!) meaningful act of the Rada in its present form was abolishing the country’s tolerant language law”. The paper pointed up that the law allowed all oblasts where the minority language population exceeded 10 percent of total residents could use the ethnic minority language as a second official (regional) language. In some oblasts, that right extended to speakers of Magyar (Hungarian), Romanian, and several other languages, but above all, it applied mostly to the ethnic Russians in the Ukraine.

The VRNS Human Rights Centre reported that the practise of regional bilingualism, taking into account the linguistic rights of national minorities under the European Charter, is widespread and is an established fixture throughout Europe. The VRNS observed, “Textbook examples are the regional status of Swedish in Finland, Finnish in Sweden, German in Denmark, Frisian in Germany, and so on, not to mention such multinational countries such as Belgium and Switzerland. Many states espouse the principle of linguistic federalism, not discriminating against the interests of any of their ethnic communities”. The VRNS noted that it’s common international practise in both Western and Eastern Europe, “Therefore, the actions of the Ukrainian politicians look like a transition to a nationalist policy marked by bigotry and culturocide (культуроцида). We hope that Ukrainian politicians reject chauvinistic approaches to language ​​and linguistic rights of their resident ethnic groups”.

25 February 2014



Editor’s Note:

Культуроцида/Culturocide is an interesting neologism. I find it useful… do you?

By the way, one of the reasons why the putschists have a Rada majority is that many members are “missing”, as much as 25 percent of the membership is “in limbo”. My, my, my… doesn’t that fit “illegitimate” and “corrupt?” I can see why Yuliya wants out of Dodge… the junta isn’t long for this world, and she knows it. As I said earlier, I wonder how much of the Ukrainian treasury she’s going to take with her to Berlin. Y’know… Botox and plastic surgery ain’t cheap.



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