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1.12.14 - 31.01.15
07.07.2015, 07:35

31.03.15 Bryan MacDonald (an Irish journalist): At a time when the very viability of the Ukrainian economy is in question, the best policy Poroshenko can muster is to ban Russian cartoons. Russian culture is a fact of life in Ukraine. Almost everybody - even radical nationalists - can speak Russian. Prohibiting Russian cartoons, reality shows and soap operas won't change that. For Ukraine to survive, the country’s fractured unity must be somehow restored. However, if the current regime continues its petty policy of cultural one-upmanship, they are signing their own political death warrants. For most Ukrainians, the economy will ultimately dictate the success or failure of the Maidan project. Right now, it's not looking good. http://rt.com/op-edge/245317-ukraine-ban-cartoons-economy-crisis/

28.03.15  Enjoy this funny bit of translation.

Some coffee shops in Crimea stopped serving Americanos. В некоторых кафе в Крыму перестали обслуживать американцев.


Правильный вариант: В некоторых кафе в Крыму перестали предлагать кофе "американо".

21.03.15 "knock-kneed" is someone whose legs turn inwards at the knees. A very unhappy quality for female legs... Japanese women are believed to be knock-kneed (at least that's what Llosa's character in "The Bad Girl" believes. "Кривоногая" in Russian is the closest analogue (though hardly accurate). That's a good example of none-equivalent units at the level of words.

16.03.15 A year has passed since the Crimeans voted in a referendum to reunite with Russia. One of the politicians who predicted such a development was the first President of the Ukraine - Leonid Kravchuk. His interview with the National Geographic ran like this:

The reporter: "Instead of being the wart on Russia's nose, wouldn't you say Crimea is now the wart on Ukraine's nose?"

Kravchuk: "Not a wart. A festering carbuncle". [NG, April 2011: 81]

The attitude to Crimea of movers and shakers in Kiev, so aptly described by Kravchuk, was to result in an explosion sooner or later.

9.03.15  Read about translation mistakes here: http://navigator-msk.com/ru/articles/oshibki-perevodchikov

4.03.15 To be willing to get good marks and to be willing to master a foreign language are two different things! Here is a useful roadmap to learning a foreign language: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150302-secrets-to-learning-a-language

1.03.15 Do you want to be like European beavers or American beavers?

Most animals aren't the marrying kind (American beavers). Less than five percent are believed to pair together for life, and even if they do stay together they do plenty of cheating. But not European beavers. Not only do they pair up for life, a new genetic analysis shows that they are faithful to each other.

To find out more read http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150228-beavers-dont-cheat-on-partners

28.02.15  Find out what is in common between gossiping and grooming at http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150227-where-did-gossiping-come-from

Have you heard the story about where gossip comes from? Gossiping is a particular and intimate behaviour, which makes working out its origin both difficult and hugely revealing. There are a few competing ideas, and it’s not easy to get to the truth of what drove its evolution, if there was one thing at all. But the stories about its possible origin are interesting tales to tell, because they are intertwined with our own history: how we learnt to cooperate, how we became ever more social, and the innovative ways we did so. They bring together grooming, the development of human society and social institutions, and also the way that humans, uniquely, learnt to harness fire.

23.02.15  Today is the Day of the Soviet Army. And the Soviet Army was Combat Force number one on this planet. I am proud of having been a soldier of that Army. For many years the 23d of February was a holiday on which women congratulated their defenders. It is possible to ban a holiday. It is impossible to ban memory. I congratulate those who keep their memory safe from timeservers.

22.02.15 There is no one-to-one correspondence between the units in red and their translation into Russian that illustrates the phenomenon of near equivalents.  When Mr Cameron speaks to MPs on Monday about the latest developments in Ukraine, he should be held to account for Britain’s part in the failure. He should not pass the buck to the EU. But nor should he be allowed to rattle a sabre that proved to be blunt when it mattered. This is about real engagement with allies, not twice-reheated Churchillism.


Когда в понедельник, 23 февраля, г-н Кэмерон будет выступать перед членами парламента с речью о ситуации на Украине, его нужно будет призвать к ответственности за то, что Великобритания несет на себе часть ответственности за провал. И ему не стоит перекладывать всю вину на Евросоюз. Но ему также не стоит позволять размахивать саблей, которая оказалась тупой как раз в тот момент, когда это имело значение. Речь идет о настоящем сотрудничестве с союзниками, а не о дважды разогретом черчиллизме.

19.02.15 The Guardian about Ukraine: "Thousands of besieged Ukrainian troops pulled out of the town on Wednesday in one of the worst defeats for the Kiev government of a 10-month war that has killed more than 5,000 people.Poroshenko said he had ordered a “planned and organised retreat” from the strategically important rail hub after the opposing side had denied access to European observers, but the withdrawal seemed anything but orderly".


15.02.15 Human language has a tendency to be slanted towards happy words, according to a new study. And Spanish was found to be the world’s happiest language.


10.02.15  Pay attention to the units in red: ususally they are not arrived at in back translation!

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, embattled by controversy at home, might have been expected to be extra careful on her visit to China where she’s looking to boost investment in her country’s sputtering economy. But the Argentine President, who met with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday and joined a meeting of 1,000 Argentine and Chinese businessmen, sparked a flurry of online outrage when she posted a tweet mocking the Chinese accent by replacing r’s with l’s:

“Are they here only for the lice and petloleum,” she said in Spanish, in a tweet that has been shared more than 1,500 times since she posted it Wednesday:

Más de 1.000 asistentes al evento… ¿Serán todos de “La Cámpola” y vinieron sólo por el aloz y el petlóleo? …

4.02.15 Read Patrick Buchanan's most thought-inspiring article. A quotation from it:

What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy and a disaster. And we are in part responsible, having egged on the Maidan coup that overthrew the elected pro-Russian government.

Все происходящее на Украине является трагедией и катастрофой. Отчасти и мы виноваты в том, что потакали государственному перевороту на Майдане, в результате которого было свергнуто законно избранное пророссийское правительство.
"egged on" is not exactly "потакали"; организовали, спровоцировали, устроили would be more appropriate.


30.01.15 Given the fact that the U.S. is pounding on Moscow's door; that it is actively engaged in half a dozen shooting wars; that it has 1,000 military bases abroad; that it leads the world in military spending by a wide margin; and that it has spent $5 billion to aid the neo-Nazis in an overthrow by force and violence in the Ukraine; it is hard to disagree with Roberts when he asserts "Washington has no intention of allowing the crisis in Ukraine to be resolved."


28.01.15 The new leader of Greece is quoted in French as saying: "Nous ne devons ni accepter, ni reconnaître le gouvernement des neo-nazis en Ukraine".

Devoir finds several correspondences in English revealing the necessity to specify when we translate from English into French: cela devait arriver — it was bound to happen (it had to happen). It is possible to delete the cumbersome modality sometimes:ce qui devait arriver arriva — the inevitable happened.

22.01.15 If you want to know something about Orwellean style read Obama's State of the Union address. He claims that the USA upholds the principle that "bigger nations can't bully the small". Indeed, there are some countries that could have testified to his 'sincerity': Vietnam, Grenada, Cuba, Panama, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia... The last example of chaos and disintegration triggered off by American "leadership" is Ukraine. The USA had invested into the unconstitutional coup, plunged the country into a civil war, accused Russia of aggression and started the war of sanctions against it. God save us from American "leadership"!  

21.01.15 Even the country that claims the melting pot as a national ideal has many cultural divides  Larn about them here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/08/which-of-the-11-american-nations-do-you-live-in/

Cultural divides make the country richer if you respect them. They may be dangerous if you ignore them  as the dim-witted in some countries prove.

14.01.15 Antoine Berman considers the replacing of an idiom or proverb by its TL "equivalent" to be an "ethnocentrism": "to play with 'equivalence' is to attack the discourse of the foreign work'. An example to illustrate this comes from a true story:

«Оратор, говоривший по-английски, сказал что-то вроде «Если стремишься достигнуть обе цели, то не достигнешь ни одной». Переводчик, радуясь своей находчивости, перевёл: «За двумя зайцами погонишься, ни одного не поймаешь». Какого же было его разочарование, когда он услышал, как один из оппонентов оратора сказал: «Э, да ведь ваши зайцы притянуты за уши!»

By the way, одним выстрелом убить двух зайцев is 'equivalent' to to kill two birds with one stone. Make a point of looking into:

Antoine Berman. L'épreuve de l'étranger: Culture et traduction dans l’Allemagne romantique: Herder, Goethe, Schlegel, Novalis, Humboldt, Schleiermacher, Hölderlin. Paris: Gallimard, 1984. Translated into English by Stefan Heyvaert as The Experience of the Foreign: Culture and Translation in Romantic Germany. Albany: SUNY Press, 1992.

8.01.15 The bastards who are attacking and killing journalists encroach on the sacred right of freedom of speech. Freedom will prevail!  De tout cœur avec Charlie Hebdo! http://news.liga.net/news/world/4681063-charlie_hebdo_12_risunkov_so_vsego_mira_v_otvet_na_terror.htm

6.01.15 May something special happen to you this Christmas! May it at least be as merry as it used to be!

31.12.14 When the Ukrainian PM says that the Russian language in the Ukraine does not need protection he is lying through his teeth. It is just the lack of protection for the Russian language that triggered off the civil war. I have been writing about it for years warning that the only way to avoid the crisis is granting Russian the official status.  As you know Russian has been expelled from the University teaching. This is the fact that Yatzenyuk tries to deny. He is a liar and a humbug and a cheat!!!

27.12.14 Sometimes the animism of the English sentence (the use of the logical adverbial modifier in place of the subject) helps hide the one who is the real doer of the action: ‘Security concerns’ halt trains between Ukraine and Crimea http://www.euronews.com/2014/12/26/security-concerns-halt-trains-between-ukraine-and-crimea/

What is really meant is: The Kiev government halts trains between Ukraine and Crimea for ‘security concerns’.

Hypocrites! The spade must be called the spade!

18.12.14 The language of diplomacy is necessarily fuzzy and vague: one thing is said, another meant:

Asked about the collapse of the Russian rouble, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “There are a lot of combined factors, but the sanctions were clearly intended to invite President Putin to make a different set of choices.”

Kerry said none of the measures taken against Russia were targeted at hurting the Russian people but “they are caught up in choices that their government makes and it does have an impact”.

 Whom is Kerry going to deceive by saying that “none of the measures taken against Russia were targeted at hurting the Russian people”? In Kerry’s speech:

1) “to invite” means to get (заставить);sanctions can’t be treated as a polite way of “inviting somebody to do something. It’s a lie: sanctions are weapons of mass destruction.

2) “to make a different set of choices” means to accept the American interpretation of international law;

3) “they are caught up in choices” means the Russians are suffering from the bad government.



12.12.14  The cause of the civil war in the Ukraine according to "The National Interest":

"At its core this conflict is about whether Ukraine should be a monocultural or pluricultural nation, and peace is unlikely until Ukrainian politics are brought into conformity with the country’s cultural reality".


7.12.14 What single alteration in people’s behavior might best improve the lot of mankind? Learn to read with a pen in your hands!


5.12.14 An observation by George Friedman worth turning over in mind says, "There are causes for conflict other than ideology. The United States has an interest in preventing the emergence of a new European hegemon. The Russians must maintain the buffers that sapped the strength of Napoleon and Hitler. Neither interest is frivolous, and it is difficult to imagine how both can be satisfied. Therefore, there is a divergence of interests between the United States and Russia, complicated by the European Peninsula's myriad nations. That this had to play out was inevitable. As the Europeans weakened, Russia strengthened relative to them. When Ukraine reversed its orientation from Russia to the West, Russia had to react. As Russia reacted, the United States had to react. Each side can portray the other as a monster, but neither is monstrous. Each simply behaves as it is forced to under circumstances".


1.12.14 A list of new additions to OED may be found at http://public.oed.com/the-oed-today/recent-updates-to-the-oed/march-2014-update/new-words-list-march-2014/


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