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Russian and English translation and misunderstanding. Untranslated words

Common mistakes in translating from Russian into English. Misunderstanding and Misconception

Russian and English are the two languages that provide great grounds for common mistakes in translation. This is explained by a cultural, history, mentality difference or some local peculiarities and standards. To bridge a gap in misunderstanding and avoid wrong allusions in communicating with a Russian woman one has to keep in mind that some words and expressions in women's letters or profiles might have a different meaning from that a woman intended to express.

The reasons are incorrect use of the words in English that were simply picked up from the dictionary, using literal translation, different life standards and absence of certain phenomena in either language or culture. Besides, using electronic translation often does not convey the idea and the true meaning of words in the context.

In order not to fall into traps or get scared away it is worth knowing some common mistakes and try to figure out what was exactly meant by a woman.

A short RW English dictionary

Words and expressions in RW English Meaning
Accurate (literal translation) Neat
Careful (wrong meaning) Caring
Loyal (literal translation) Tolerant
Close people (literal translation) People I care about
Intelligent (literal translation) Cultural
Sporty (direct meaning) Physically fit
Without bad habits (literal translation) Non-smoker/non-drinker or social drinker; no illegal drugs
High (higher, highest) education (literal translation) College or University degree
Create home coziness (literal translation) Homemaking
Economist (different use) Professional in accounting/finance/sales department
Top manager CEO
Office manager Secretary
Sales manager Sales person
HR manager Personnel or recruitment officer
Generous (diffrrence on meaning) Giving/Supportive
Second half (literal translation) Soul mate
Active rest (literal translation) Outdoor and indoor activities

Some English words are misconcepted by Russian speakers. Caucasian that is usually referred to a person of a white race. Russian speakers refer "Caucasian" to someone from ethnic grouping living in Caucasus region. "a 25-year-old Caucasian male" will most likely be understood as a young man that comes from Dagestan, Chechnya, Ossetia, Adygea, Armenia or Azerbaidzhan.

A couple more words are hard to translate accurately. They are tolerance and privacy The verb "to tolerate" is often translated into Russian like with the meaning "to endure, to suffer, to bear". The word tolerance in Russian may have a negative connotation as it was widely used as an euphemism for bordello in the past. This could be one of the reasons why today, people in Russia use the calked word "толерантность" (tolerantnost) instead of its Russian analogue.

A beautiful young Russian woman sending a message

The word "privacy" is even worse. The phrase "May I have some privacy?" is normally translated into Russian like "Could you leave me alone" (Я могу побыть один/одна), which is not exactly the same. The phrase "I care about my privacy" most probably would be translated as "I worry about my security/safety". Collaboration and cooperation, living in a society, sharing aims and goals of your community and fitting your personality into the community are the values that are very old and that are in the very deep core of Russian culture. Russians are well-familiar with the word privacy from numerous translated psychological books of western authors and need it as well as any human being. The expression частная жизнь private life is what most often used in translating the word “privacy.”

Some Russian words are not easy to translate into English because they do not obviously have direct English equivalents. Many of them are culture-specific and require references to Russian history, traditions, humor, cinema, literature or mentality and remain not translated.

Apart from well-known babushka, muzhik, taiga, troika and ushanka, there are some other words that used in modern language. Some of the are:

Sovok – (совок) - typically used in its colloquial form to describe something as being influenced by the negative aspects of Soviet culture and norms;
Novistroijka - (новострóйка) refers to any newly constructed building;
Pochemuchka - (почемучка) is a Russian word that refers to that person asking many questions;
Marshrutka - (маршрутка) from marshrutnoye taxi - literally "routed taxicab");
Dacha - (дача) A country house or cottage in Russia;
Sharashka - (шарашка) Russian slang for expression sharashkina kontora "Sharashka's office", possibly from the radical meaning "to beat about", an ironic, derogatory term to denote a poorly organized, impromptu, or bluffing organization) (historical) Informal name for the secret research and development laboratories in the Soviet Union's Gulag labor camp system;
Fortochka - (форточка) is a small window that is built into a regular window. It is typically used to allow fresh air to enter a room during the winter;
Mormyshka also Mormishka - (мормышка) from Russian mormysh meaning "freshwater shrimp" (Gammaurus) A type of fishing lure or a jig;
Dedovshchina - (дедовщина) from Russian ded "grandfather", Russian army slang equivalent of "gramps", meaning soldiers at their third or fourth half-year of conscription, + suffix -shchina order, rule, or regime; hence "rule of the grandfathers") A system of hazing in the Soviet and Russian Army;
Katorga (каторга) (historical) A form of penal servitude in during Tsarist Russia, later transformed into the Gulags after the Bolshevik takeover of Russia. Now widely used to describe hard and morally painful activity;
Preved - (Превед) A Russian Internet slang, corrupted "privet" (привет) ("hi", "greetings").

A Russian language is rich and complicated. There is a considerable number of synonyms and words with multiple meaning. Foreign learners are often misled by the relatively free words order, find it hard to deal with the tense system and inflexions and diminutives. The translated sentences are usually longer . The context matters. Translation mistakes may lead to misunderstanding, tension and even international conflicts as it happened in 1956. The off-hand remark of Nikita Khrushchev after his speech about Suez Canal crisis meant that Communism would outlast Capitalism and the Soviets as the communists would be present at capitalists burial was translated differently. The words were translated as “We will bury you” and burned into the minds of the whole generation as a warning that the Russians would invade the United States.

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