An Intern’s Diary Pt. 7

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

Duellist trailer missing words


Agricultural census slogan brainstorm


МИФ texts and using MemoQ


Reviewing Feedback


Day 2 of my lesson “subtitles are hard”. I learnt that subtitles in a trailer don’t necessarily have to correspond to the subtitles of the film, i.e. the trailer is a new story and the subtitles should tell that story and not the film’s. Words and phrases are chucked in at random and at such speed that it’s impossible to read subtitles if you are unfamiliar with the language / trailer. I had just two single words to translate and for both I thought of short phrases which turned out to be too long. My compromise was to translate a slightly randomly placed зря as ‘shame’, as in all honesty, no film-goer is going to make it to the end of the line before the next phrase flashed up…!


My translation of the slogan Село в порядке — страна в достатке! as ‘A prosperous country founded on well-run villages!’ in the SoundFront agricultural census text didn’t go down too well. Tal and I had decided it got the message across and didn’t need to sound like a slogan in English as it was just informational. We were wrong and the client requested we creatively brainstorm some ideas that ‘didn’t need to rhyme but had some sort of rhyme, sounds like a slogan and is therefore shorter than the Russian as English ends up shorter than Russian’ (what?!). My new best idea ‘What’s good for the countryside is good for the country’ also flopped and Tal managed ‘National pride starts with the countryside’, which had the desired rhyme. This again is another lesson in creativity and playing with the sentiment of the Russian but not following it to the letter.


I am trying to take any opportunity to familiarise myself with MemoQ and use it and its features to their potential. Concordance is a particular favourite and certainly speeds up my translation and keeps me loyal to the established style. It has made me feel quite guilty about my previous translations done as a freelancer, which will undoubtedly have needed to be rewritten to make them stylistically consistent. One of Eclectic’s clients, Roscongress, requires that we have an in-house translator who is familiar with their ways and can give a single voice to their translations!


I checked the feedback that Tal has given for the SoundFront retranslations that I did yesterday. In the chastushka he managed to make something much more fluent and not constrained by the English; whereas I made the original English translation better, he made a better English translation. Practice will make perfect.


He didn’t make a massive amount of changes to the voiceover text. I need to be mindful of remaining in one voice / tense and making the English text sound better if the Russian sounds clumsy; do not reflect the clumsy.

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