“We were amazed by the school students’ talent of translating military topics...”: our Victory translated in 5 languages!

“We were amazed by the school students’ talent of translating military topics...”: our Victory translated in 5 languages!

RUDN University staff, together with Moscow school students, composed audio guides in 5 languages for the “Feat of the Army” exhibition at the Victory Museum.

The project involved teachers from the Department of Foreign Languages of the Faculty of Philology and 156 school students (Grades 6–11) from 39 Moscow schools, and featured compiling texts for audio guides used in 14 exhibition zones at the Victory Museum. The students independently wrote the original texts in Russian and translated them into foreign languages. Audio guides describe the first days of the war, the lives of people during the siege of Leningrad, and the major battles of the Great Patriotic War.

RUDN University professors acted as experts and language mentors, helping with Spanish, Italian, German, Turkish and Chinese.

Especially important was compliance with stylistic norms, correct choice of lexical units, and the translation of historical realities within the context.

Chinese

Responsible for Chinese translation was Margarita Lagutkina, senior lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Philology, RUDN University.

“We were amazed by the school students’ talent of translating military topics. There were 7 texts all in all, and from the very beginning we noticed that they not only usedictionaries, but also skillfully interpreted the words in context. Take for example, the well-known word ‘comrade,’ which is usually translated as 同志 (tongzhi) in Chinese. The students found another equivalent, 战友 (lao zhan you), which translates as ‘fellow soldier’.

Forms of address and names are especially difficult to translate into Chinese. The students decided to use them transcribtion to convey the spirit and pain of that era. The Chinese visitors will obviously highly appreciate the efforts of Moscow school students. They will enjoy high-quality translation, while clear phrases will help them feel involved and share the will to win and the fate of the people who became the heroes of the teenagers’ short stories!” Margarita Lagutkina.

Spanish

Ledesma Guido Ramiro Tejerina and Liliya Govorova, professors of the Department of Foreign Languages of the Faculty of Philology, checked the Spanish translation.

I want to note high quality of the translation of Russian texts into Spanish. Working on any projects related to the Great Patriotic War always evokes incredible pride and a deep sense of patriotism inherent in the Russian people. It was exciting to see the ways the students coped with the translation of Soviet realities and lexemes of the Russian language that are absent in Spanish (for example, Komsomol meeting, ZIS-101(an old Soviet car), GTO norms (Soviet and Russian sport requirements ‘Ready for labor and defense’, high productivity worker, etc.). I also liked the way they translated poems, like ‘I was killed near Rzhev’ by Alexander Tvardovsky. While reading and analyzing texts, you learn about the resilience of the Soviet people, and fill with national grief, fortitude and awareness of your duty to the Motherland.

Phraseological units or realities of that time could cause some difficulties. But we managed to successfully translate them, make the necessary corrections, preserving and conveying the intended meaning,” Liliya Govorova.

German

The translation of the audio guide texts into German was checked by Alena Novikova and Liliya Yarullina, teachers of the Department of Foreign Languages, Philological Faculty.

Translating texts about the victory over Germany into German has always been an emotional clash for my linguistic personalities. The German language is one of the tools for narrating the events of the Great Patriotic War. Nazi Germany, its culture and state policy, national thinking and the specific consciousness of the German soldier are contrasted with Soviet realities and are reflected in the language. The translation visualizes the story of the Great Patriotic War and Victory for foreign listeners,” Alena Novikova.

The major part of the material featured dialogues between teenagers and Soviet government officials. The first, emotionally charged dialogue, belongs to the conversational style. It was in the form of short answers and questions typical of live, unprepared speech. Also, students successfully used transliteration to designate some Russian phenomena, for example, Kukryniks (Soviet caricaturists), Mossowet (Moscow City Council) and diminutive names Poljuschka and Annetschka. The second dialogue was between Lavrenty Beria and Nikolai Spiridonov. They talked about the camouflage plan for the main building of the country, proposed by Spiridonov for the air defense of the capital. The translators managed to convey the spirit of that time through the translation of realities, toponyms and anthroponyms. It was heartwarming to read the work, because with the help of these dialogues and the information they processed, the teenagers remembered the common past of our ancestors, which contributed to their patriotic education,” Liliya Yarullina.

Italian

Professor Roberta Alonzi checked the Italian translation of audio guide texts.

“I liked the way the students translated all the texts with the teachers’ help, demonstrating their ability to work with specialized vocabulary. They easily coped with the syntactic transformations that are necessary to express ideas in Italian,” notes Roberta.

Roberta Alonzi appreciated the tendency of young translators to make direct speech more expressive. The most difficult point was the use of verbs in the past tense form due to the fact that in Italian it is very difficult to express the sequence of actions in the past.

Turkish

Mammadali Hasanov and Burak Kambak, postgraduate students of the Department of Foreign Languages of the Faculty of Philology, not only translated the texts into Turkish, but also participated in recording audio guides in the media center of the Department of Education and Science of Moscow.

“Firstly, the text of the audio guide was quite difficult and required a deep understanding of military-patriotic traditions and events related to the history of the USSR. We used contextual and historical information to convey the meaning of the text as accurately as possible. For example, it was difficult to translate the word ‘talon’ (ration/food card) into Turkish, since there are several synonyms in Turkish. Meanwhile, we have strived to preserve the full meaning of the original audio guide text. After careful analysis, we settled on the word ‘karne’, which best reflected the meaning and preserved the historical and cultural context of the audio guide text, making the translation more accurate.

Secondly, the Turkish language has its own characteristics and nuances that had to be taken into account during translation. We used professional knowledge and skills not to lose the subtleties of the language. Despite these difficulties, we successfully completed our task creating a high-quality translation of the audio guide,” Mammadali Hasanov.

Translating the text of audio guides into foreign languages is an important link in the process of interrelations between, and mutual understanding of different cultures. Now the Great Victory becomes even more historically significant to museum visitors from all over the world.

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