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Translation into ukrainian: easy or difficult?


Ukrainian is an official language of our country. Everyone knows it. But not everyone uses it preferring Russian to Ukrainian. Lots of people think that they know the official language well, just hardly ever use it. In fact, very few people can proudly say that they are perfect in Ukrainian.

On the one hand, living in Ukraine we are supposed to be native  speakers of Ukrainian, but on the other hand, lots of us cannot be really qualified like that. For example, the language presently spoken by the government officials can hardly be called an ‘official language’, rather a ‘surrogate’. I would better speak grammatically correct Russian than make people laugh trying to express the idea in bad Ukrainian. Surely, the officials can be understood: ‘noblesse oblige’ – they have to speak the ‘official language’. But if so, then, dear ladies and gentlemen, please read Ukrainian books, use Ukrainian in everyday communication – then your speech will not remind a set of Russian and Ukrainian words and phrases.

I remembered a story I heard when I was a student. It happened at the first lecture given to all Ukrainian groups of the Philology Department by a teacher whose name was Piven [if translated, it means ‘a cock’ and in Russian it sounds ‘petukh’]. A first-year student from the other part of the Philology Department was trying to find the lecture room where a lecture for her group was given by a teacher Shvydky by name [shvydky in Ukrainian means ‘fast’ and in Russian it is pronounced as ‘bystry’]. By mistake she opened the door into the room where Ukrainian groups were listening to Mr. Piven and asked: ‘Excuse me, could you tell me how I can find the room where the lecture is read by Mr. Bystry [Fast]?’ Can you imagine, she translated a surname! The students fought back their laughing! Our teacher, whose name was Piven, replied: ‘I have no idea where Mr. Bystry is. But if you need Petukh [a cock] – I am at your disposal!’ At this point the students burst out of laughing! 🙂

I am sure that there are many more funny stories like this one and they may make up a multivolume set! But a classic said: ‘It would be funny if it weren’t so sad!’

The most strange thing here is that lots of mistakes and incorrect phrases are used by those who are supposed to be correct: philologists and translators. Thinking very high of themselves they sometimes make such stupid mistakes with, as the saying goes, ‘no rhyme or reason’! So what do we want from the other ‘non-specialist’ part of population?

In fact, it is often so hard to find a qualified translator into Ukrainian. While dealing with Ukraine and Ukrainian organizations, individuals and entities will need quality Ukrainian translation services of legal documents, technical texts and marketing materials. The providers of professional Ukrainian translation services can ensure that all document and materials will be translated correctly and culturally acceptable.

This is a long story and can be discussed again and again, but let me finish. In the end, I would like to recommend visiting some helpful websites where one can not only get rid of his/her ignorance but also will discover a lot of interesting things about our native language. — Ukrainian Word Use Reference by M. Voloschak – Official Language Lessons – Ilya Franko’s Multilanguage Project (select ‘Ukrainian’ in links).