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Russian Translation Services and global business


The need for a Russian translation service is a sign of the globalization of business today. As international trade grows more complex, so do the challenges regarding dealings with parties from different cultures and areas.

As such, whether you are marketing products to Russia or dealing with Russians abroad it is timely to consider the benefits of using a professional Russian translation company as part of your market strategy.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why it may be good business sense to use an experienced Russian language  translation agency:

1)  Russian has many different dialects

It might seem obvious that one would think there was only one single version of any given language (or “dialect”, as we will refer to them in this article). However, this is not so with Russian. There are several different dialects, which may vary from city to city and from region to region. For example, a speaker of Ukrainian might find it very difficult to understand someone who speaks the same language but doesn’t know the difference between proverbs used in Kiev as opposed to St Petersburg.

2)  Russia has many different dialects!

This fact is related to the first point above; however, the sheer number of significant differences between regional versions of Russian make it necessary for translators or interpreters working in this area to be highly knowledgeable about where they are operating. This is valuable information when considering your customer base and how you will engage with them for mutual benefit.

3)    Russian has a rich and varied vocabulary

The sheer number of words that exist in the Russian language is mind-boggling. This stems partly from its history and partly from the fact that it absorbed many words over the years, particularly when Russia was part of the Soviet Union (it didn’t become an independent country until 1991). The use of older words or abbreviations can make up part of your written communication to reflect cultural identity, but may cause confusion to people who are not familiar with such terms.

4)  As well as having many words for one thing…

…the English language does too! Sometimes this leads to frustration and embarrassment when we realize we used a different word for something than what our native speaking counterpart would have chosen.

For example, in English we have “theory”, “hypothesis” and “presumption”. In Russian it’s гипотеза, предположение and умозаключения (pronounced roughly gih-puh-tee-zuh, proh-duhstuhf-nee-zuh-ee and oomahzahkluhzhenya).

5)   Russians don’t like to be late!

It is considered rude if you arrive for an appointment at the agreed time and the other party does not appear for some time afterwards. In Russia, it’s called being “greedy”. So if you want to impress, be on time!

6)  Russia has a long history of writing and literature

Many phrases from books written by famous Russian writers have found their way into common parlance over time – for example, many people use the quote “the night is darkest just before dawn” not knowing that it originated in a novel by Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy called War and Peace . The list of popular sayings from classic 19 th century Russian novels goes on. There are also plenty of words borrowed from German related to science and engineering as well as military terminology adopted at various points throughout its history. These make up part of everyday language and it’s important to consider this when doing business with the modern Russian-speaking world.

7)  It is a major language on the Internet!

Russian can be considered as one of top 10 languages used on the internet, according to some statistics. As more and more of the population gets online every day, this places Russian sites among those most frequently visited by people from all over the globe. This makes it an obvious language choice for websites aimed at global markets – even if you or your business may not have any branch or presence there yet!

8)   It had a big influence on English

The amount of words borrowed from Russian into English may surprise you – they number at least 20 000 words and span a huge variety of areas from politics to engineering and computing. This is enough to make a significant impact on our daily lives as it influences the way we communicate through expressions such as “the cat’s whiskers” or slang words like “shag”.

9)  It has a fascinating alphabet!

Although the English language uses Latin characters, there’s no denying that Russian looks different – and more fun! It employs 33 letters in its complete form, not including variations of some consonants depending on where they are placed in relation to other letters, for example б, в, г. Even if you don’t actually speak Russian you can have great fun trying out how to read it when written down. As an extra challenge, doing it backwards is also possible!

10)  It is the mother tongue of 145 million people

Russia may not be as large geographically as some other countries, but it has a big population. Of course, not all of these are native speakers – many former Soviet Union countries actually use Russian as an official language which means that there are plenty of people who can understand or speak it too. This makes it the most widely spoken Slavic language by far and one with huge potential for doing business worldwide.