Languages can evolve and change over time, with some words and phrases falling out of fashion and others replacing them in popularity. The modern Russian language and its willingness to accept new technological or cultural terms from English is a fine example of a language adopting unchanged words from a foreign language. But this can create a challenge for Russian translators.
Russian translations from English can sometimes lack words, phrases or terms for new technology. The translation equivalent hasn’t waited for a process of either natural or man-made development of new Russian terms. Instead, the Russian population have simply chosen to adopt the words they require, principally from English. Examples of these can include words and terms such as web surfing, default, merger and spam.
The outcome has been remarkable, with the vast majority of Russians now using the required English words during their everyday life or business. The resulting words are now familiar, widely accepted and understood. For many of the new terms and phrases, there are no precise equivalents existing but only drawn out and cumbersome explanations that roughly translates the English word into Russian.
Translation or explanation?
The speed at which technology and cultural changes happen is posing a real test for Russian translators and interpreters. The question is, do we translate the English term into Russian with an explanation or do we simply retain the English word as it is and do not translate it at all? It will be fair to say that there is no easy answer to the question. Many accept that neither is a truly ideal scenario. The resulting consensus of how to approach the English to Russian translation appears to be divided by generation. The older more traditional generation of translators prefer to opt for the longer Russian explanation whereas the younger generation generally choose to adopt the unchanged English word.
As a highly professional Russian translation service, we listen to our customers and translate in the way they want. We find this is the best way to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.