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Russian language service provider – Russian translations for your company

oneword’s language experts will gladly advise you and prepare a free quote for you after examining your documents thoroughly. We have a global network of professional native-speaker translators at our disposal to provide German to Russian and Russian to German translations certified to ISO 17100. And all to your advantage: Every document is technically and grammatically correct and the style and tone are accurately processed and translated by experts and experienced translators.

Russian translations by oneword: certified, cost effective and on time

  • Translations to and from Russian, certified to ISO 17100

  • Native-speaker translators

  • Qualified specialist translators with subject area expertise

  • Independent revisers

  • Teams of linguistically trained project and quality managers

Bespoke solutions for companies

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Heino Ehlers
Heino

Dipl.-Übersetzer

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Russian translations – can they also be used for Belarus and Ukraine?

Russian is spoken as a native language by around 165 million people, mainly in Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union – the CIS and in the Baltic Republics. Russian is ranked 7th in the list of world languages, and in 2013 it shared second place with German as the most commonly used language on the internet after English. Russian is the second language of 110 million people. The urgent need to modernise its economy makes Russia a major export market, especially for capital goods. For example, when we look at German exports to Russia, the top places in 2012 were occupied by machinery and plant equipment (22.9%), vehicles/vehicle parts (22.1%), chemicals (14.4%) and electrical technology (7.5%). German-Russian translations in these technical areas, but also in general, were in the top 10 language combinations for translations.

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The Russian language as a lingua franca during the Soviet era

Russian has a particular value thanks to its use as a lingua franca during the Soviet era. This can still be seen today in its linguistic spread and significance in the republics of the former Soviet Union. Russian is still recognised as an equal, or second, official language in the former Soviet Republics (excluding the Baltic states). The Russian language is also widely used in the fields of science, art and technology. 
So, considering that Russian has such a huge influence and is used so frequently, the question is: Can Russian translations be used for more than one target market? What is the significance of translations into Ukrainian or Belarusian nowadays?

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Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian in translations: Distinctive linguistic features and distribution

The roots of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian languages are closely intertwined, and belong to the family of East Slav languages. Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians generally understand each other without difficulty – both when speaking with each other, and in writing. All 3 languages use the Cyrillic script, with a few minor differences in the writing system. The distinctive feature of Belarusian is that it has a phonetic spelling system. In other words, the way of writing the language is closely related to the way it is spoken. As a result, Belarusian looks quite different from the other two languages, even though its pronunciation of all three is very much the same. Ukrainian is somewhat further removed from Russian than Belarusian. For example: From a lexical point of view, the Ukrainian language is very close to Belarusian (with a shared vocabulary of 84%), followed by Polish (70%), Slovak (68%) and Russian (62%). However, the close similarities between the East Slav languages is, to a great extent, due to the policy of Russification implemented during the Soviet era. This has had a lasting effect, not only on the (technical) vocabulary, but also on everyday use.

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Russian is an official language

This is especially true in Belarus, with a population of around 9.5 million, which was heavily “Russified”. Russian has permeated everyday speech in Belarus almost exhaustively (75%), such that only 12% of Belarusians use the Belarusian language as their first language of communication. In Ukraine (45 million inhabitants), an average of 45% of the population use Russian as their means of communication.  Belarus, where the headquarters of the CIS is located (in Minsk), has also introduced Russian as an equal official language. In Ukraine, Russian was only implemented as a regional language in Eastern Ukraine, and as an official language in Crimea in 2012. Prior to 2012, Ukrainian was the only official language, following a policy of de-Russification after the Soviet era.

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Reach a huge target audience with Russian

Against a background of historic and contemporary events, it is easy to see why there is a requirement for translations into Ukrainian and Belarusian:   it is a fact that the demand for translations into Ukrainian is greater than into Belarusian. Translations into Ukrainian are requested as standard, and are usually a requirement for the Ukrainian target market. However the distribution of language in this target market is not homogeneous. The number of Ukrainian speakers in Western Ukraine is around 98%, whereas around 65% of the population in Central Ukraine, and only 5% of the inhabitants of East Ukraine and Crimea use this language. In these last two regions, Russian is overwhelmingly the language of choice.  At present a particular trend can be observed when it comes to Belarusian translations: the predominance of the Russian language in this country means that, very often, the Russian translation is used instead of a Belarusian translation. Of course, the cost of translations also plays a role here. Translations or localisations into Belarusian are still quite common, when particular local conditions or specific product requirements have to be taken into consideration.  However, if the budget won’t stretch to a translation and localisation into Ukrainian or Belarusian, or if a translation is simply not required, as is often the case for software localisation, the Russian translation is still used as the “lingua franca” for many CIS states, as a better alternative to an English translation – at least, this is what happens at the moment. This is particularly true for translations destined for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, and other CIS states, and sometimes also for translations for the Baltic states (Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian). With the Russian language, you can even reach a major target market in Mongolia. At the end of the day, 275 million people round the world speak Russian.

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