Verbosity

 

I am sick and tired of Russian verbosity. Here are just a few examples of what they say and what they really mean. Recently heard on the radio and television news and sportcasts, where one would expect maximum brevity, conciseness and minimum vagueness:

1 Внешнеполитическое ведомство – External Policy Agency
2 Северная столица – Northern Capital
3 Зеленый континент – Green Continent
4 Административный центр Баварии – Administrative Center of Bavaria
5 Главная площадь страны – The Main Square of the Country
6 Стоимость углеводородов / Цена на углеводороды – Hydrocarbons price
7 В качестве главы кабинета Ее Величества – In the capacity of the Head of Cabinet of Her Majesty)
8 Венценосные особы – Crown-wearing persons
9 Туманный Альбион – The Foggy Albion
10 Страна кленового листа – The Maple Leaf Country
11 Страна утренней свежести – The Country of Morning freshness
12 Страна восходящего солнца – The Country of the Rising Sun
13 Поднебесная – The Celestial Empire
14 Страна тысячи озер или Суоми – The Country of a Thousand Lakes or Suomi
15 Футбольная столица Англии – Football capital of England
17 Четвертое (первое) игровое сочетание форвардов – 4th (1st) game combination of forwards
18 Нападающий команды страны тысячи озер – Forward of the Team of the Country of a Thousand Lakes
19 Обесшайбил финского спортсмена – ‘De-pucked’ the Finnish sportsman
20 Положил игровой диск в ворота страны тысячи озер – Put the playing disk into the goal of the country of a thousand of lakes

Sometimes it sounds plain ridiculous but that is the way they talk these days… Below are the meanings of the above samples of Russian “slovobloudie”. This is what they mean, in human-readable language::

1 МИД – State Department (in US), Foreign Ministry
2 Санкт Петербург – Saint Petersburg
3 Австралия – Australia
4 Мюнхен – Munich
5 Красная площадь – Red Square
6 Цена на нефть – Oil price
7 В качестве премьер-министра – As Prime Minister
8 Королева и ее муж – The Queen and her husband
9 Англия – United Kingdom, UK
10 Канада – Canada
11 Корея – Korea
12 Япония – Japan
13 Китай – China
14 Финляндия – Finland
15 Манчестер – Manchester
17 Нападающее звено – Offensive line
18 Финский форвард – Finnish forward
19 Отобрал шайбу у финна – Took the puck away from the Finn
20 Забил шайбу финнам – [player’s name] scored

Small wonder Russian translations of English source texts are up to 40% lengthier than the original text. In translation industry we call it “expansion”. I can at least understand the motives of a translator who inflates the number of “target language” words, but why does a sports commentator do it?..

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2 thoughts on “Verbosity”

  1. I don’t get it. I know what you are talking about. I hit the same problem when translating my own texts from English to Russian. However, your examples are not really lengthier. Some are even shorter, like “МИД”.

    1. I don’t dig why you need Russian translations of your own books? Write them in Russian, dude. It’s your mother’s tongue! As for the length difference, I didn’t quite understand what you wanted to say. My point was clear: instead of saying: “МИД”, a Russian TV commentator will say “Внешнеполитическое ведомство”.

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