The Russian translation school boasts centuries-long history. It saw its golden age in the 19th century, when translation was elevated to a high art. In our days, the translation profession has become part of mass culture. Simultaneous interpreters are wanted everywhere, and translators are required to be knowledgeable on politics, economics, engineering and other areas. But the high status of translator has to be maintained whatever the odds, said Russia’s Culture Minister Alexander Avdeev at the First International Congress of Translators in Moscow early in September.
"The Russian translation school has to be preserved and promoted to be the world’s best," he says. "To this end, we must guarantee translators excellent working conditions. Translation from Russian or into Russian opens a window into global culture for people of Russia and for those living in former Soviet republics."
A translator’s job is to foster international understanding. Russia is ready to open a center to assist in this understanding. The Director of Moscow’s Library of Foreign Literature, Yekaterina Genieva, comments.
"The Library plans to set up an Institute of Translation, or a ‘House of the Translator’," she says. "It hopes to receive financial support to popularize Russian authors abroad through plentiful, high quality translations, which demonstrate increasing professionalism."
A Translation Institute would render a good service to foreign translators of Russian literature who help advance Russian authors in the world market along with their Russian colleagues. A Russian translator from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jarco Milenic, has this to say.
"I’m fond of translating contemporary writers, such as Sorokin, Sadulaev, Nechiporenko, and contemporary poets – Kuprianov, Amelin. I draw inspiration for my own novels, plays and essays from Russian classics – Chekhov, Andreev, Bryusov, Sologub. I’ve always loved Russian literature, both classical and modern. When I was offered the job of chief editor of “The Foreign Writer Library” in Croatia, I decided that I would do the translation myself and learned Russian on my own."
The German classic Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote that “Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own”. This quotation must be particularly relevant to translators, whose job presupposes a love of the Word, no matter what language it’s uttered in.