Translation in the Humanities and Social Sciences
from The Russianist creator
“Vladimir’s English is excellent and he is an enthusiastic and reliable translator. He definitely goes ‘above and beyond the call of duty.'”
Susan Welsh, editor
“Vladimir is a professional who does his job with all his love and honesty, honing every phrase he works on.”
Alexander Ray, writer
Hi, I am Vladimir Zakharov.
I’ve been professionally translating between Russian and English since 2001.
Bridging the gap between these two huge and largely disconnected worlds is what I consider my bigger purpose as a translator.
I also translate from the majority of European languages, most notably German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, and Serbian.
My work philosophy is based on three pillars:
However enticing a job offer might seem, I won’t be able to do it right if it doesn’t resonate with me. My translation will have to touch the souls of its readers—so it has to touch mine first.
A translation cannot be half good. Sometimes I canspend an hour translating an especially tricky sentence until it finally has the translation it deserves.
Once I get a job, it becomes my brainchild. However challenging it is, I will do my best to ensure the best possible future for it after it leaves my desk.
As already mentioned, I only work in areas I am interested and competent in, most notably:
- Humanities: history, philosophy, art, literature
- Social sciences: psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science
- Fiction: children’s literature, sci-fi, post-apocalypse, fantasy, memoirs
That said, I have several trusted colleagues that I can recommend, so feel free to send me your documents even if they don’t fit the above specializations.
A perfectionist by nature, I keep working on a translation until I’m fully satisfied with it.
That said, to err is human, and no translator, however qualified and diligent, can make a flawless translation single-handedly.
This is why I always have my work reviewed by another professional whose subject-matter expertise equals or surpasses mine and who is native in the target language.
When all is said and done, a translator is only as good as his or her translations are.
Below are several examples of my work for you to make your own judgment.
(Click on the captions to unfold details.)
Russian to English:
Title: The Lion and the Bull
Original title: Lev i byk
Author: Ivan Butkevych
Size: 38,000 words
Ancient coins are strikingly straightforward. They may seem to us simple and schematic, but this imagery is no testament to a primitivist craze at the time of their minting. A coin made during the Classical or the early Hellenistic period, depicting a deity or a hero, is a penetrating revelation of the intensity, the inspiration, and the tenacity with which an abstract notion of the Divine has created an image of Perfection impressed in metal. Today, thousands of years later, these coins still pulse with life, seemingly oblivious to the passage of time, as if harboring sparks of the immortal souls of their creators, who put all their faith and love into imprinting their being, as they understood and perceived it, on the tiny planchets.
Title: The Island of the Giant Tree
Original title: Ostrov bol’šogo dereva
Author: Alexander Ray
Size: 5,000 words
The lonely island was lost amid the boundless ocean. Each islander knew that this was the only scrap of land in the whole big world. A single town covered the island’s small area—from coast to coast, from north to south, from east to west. Its narrow cobbled streets, with tiny two-story houses squeezed along them, formed a giant maze where you could easily get lost if not for one thing: a giant tree on its central square, a tree so gigantic that you could see it from even the most distant parts of the island, while its wide, spreading crown was only visible on sunny days, concealed by the overcast sky at other times.
English to Russian:
Title: Belgrade in Your Hands
Translated title: Belgrad na ladoni
Author: Vladimir Dulović
Size: 100,000 words
Белград, столица Сербии и один из ключевых городов Юго-Восточной Европы, никого не оставляет равнодушным. Исключительно удачно расположенный на вершине водораздельного хребта над слиянием двух больших рек, он очаровывает своей уникальной, порой даже непривычной красотой. Не ожидайте найти здесь множества ухоженных памятников или центральноевропейской утонченности. У Белграда свое беспорядочное и хаотичное очарование, многим обязанное присущему местным жителям непринужденному отношению к порядку.
(unofficial partial translation)
Title: Phi. A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul
Translated title: Chislo Φ, ili izvilistyj put’ ot mozga k dushe
Size: 3,000 words (of 90,000)
И всё же это ничего не давало: ибо как может мозг породить душу? Ребёнка рождает женщина, и это, без спора, чудесно. Но ведь истинный творец его души — тот, кто воплощяет сознание, даруя ему жизнь с каждым пробуждением и каждым сновидением, — это его мозг. Плоть, появляющаяся от плоти; семя, прорастающее сквозь землю — всё это ч́удно, но не чудо. Но материя, порождающая разум? Вот загадка похитрее непорочного зачатия; невероятность, не поддающаяся уверованию. Может, в мозге есть особое место — святая святых, где свершается зачатие сознания? Средоточие, в котором раскрывается таинство пресуществления — но не из хлеба в тело, а из мозга в душу?
My work does not end when the job is over. I want my translations to thrive, and I do my best to support their further dissemination.
If you are a writer with little knowledge of the target-language market, I provide free advice and contacts so you know where to start.
Below are some kind words about my work from my customers and colleagues.
Alexander Ray, psychologist, writer:
Susan Welsh, translator, editor:
There is no one-size-fits-all price for translation, especially in the fields I specialize in.
However, you can get a ballpark estimation by using the form below. After you submit your documents, I will receive a notification and will get in touch with you with a final quote.
Note the “Promo” option: If you cannot afford the full price of translation, you can still send over the documents, and I will see if I can afford doing this work at a discounted rate.
I know that choosing a translator is hard. And I don’t dare say that I’m the best one there can be.
But what I can promise is that I will be devoting all my passion and skills to be the best translator I can be.
If this sounds compelling to you, and if my knowledge is suitable for the work you need, I’ll be happy to work together.
If not, I thank you for reading this through, and wish you good luck in your linguistic—and other—endeavors.