An Intern’s Diary Pt. 17

If you’re looking for a Russian to English translation internship – Eclectic Translations in St Petersburg is the place for you!


This is one in a series of posts written by an intern we had back in September 2016; these diary entries should answer questions you may have about what an internship might entail.



What I’ve been up to

Russian Film Group Corporation test edit


St. Petersburg Toponymics Project


Feedback: Digital Light Studio translation


Eclectic co-founder Will checks each of the St. Petersburg glossaries I have been working on before he submits them. His main feedback to me was that I miss out articles when entering the data. I did so because I didn’t want things to be known as ‘The…’ with a capital T unless that is genuinely what they are called (i.e. I called some monuments in St. Petersburg’s Green Belt of Glory ‘The Attack’, ‘The Victorious Tank’). To me, as a native speaker of English, using articles is natural and therefore it seemed obvious to me when “the” would need to be used and when not. What I did not think about however, is that this is not so natural nor straightforward for a non-native. It is non-native speakers that will be using this glossary to complete signs to be posted across the city and this is why the glossaries need to be as clear and accurate as possible.


A potential client, the Russian Film Group Corporation, sent us some English translations for a test edit. Valya says this happens to a lot; clients will often ask Eclectic to check over a translation that they have done themselves because they know it’s likely to not be perfect, but they still continue to try themselves, send it, and then pay for the (inevitable) retranslation! It is important to know what is actually wrong with badly written / translated text and to be able to convey this strongly to the client. It is not enough to just give improvements. There’s no need to insult, but one should clearly explain the issues. After all, this is why the client has come to you!


Tal and I have developed a new feedback process whereby, instead of giving the translator a marked-up copy of the final text and the comments outlining issues, he gave me only the markup and asked me to decide what the main issues were.


My self-feedback included:


Typos. There were lots of them and they could easily be fixed by just running a spell check or carefully re-reading the text after completion.


Finding the appropriate tone for the appropriate section. This text had marketing spiel, technical instructions, and corporate information, and I should make sure to adhere to the style of each section.


Mistranslations / misunderstandings. История came up multiple times meaning slightly different things each time (series, episode, running theme/overview). To avoid using the wrong translation I should leave titles or terms with context-specific definitions until the end, or at least after understanding fully what is being said in the sentence or section.


Finally, I should not allow the Ru to rule the En. For example, I should be be mindful of the use of different tenses for different purposes in the two languages, not necessarily using two words where one is sufficient in the En, and other little tricks.

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