Tag Archives: Russian translator

Samara KUF Russia Passport Control Problems

Samara Passport Control

I always found Moscow a bit of a pain to connect internally through (although I gather it has improved since I last went through there), and the flight is shorter from the UK to Frankfurt and from there to Samara. Plus the FRA-KUF route is served by Lufthansa and not Yuri Air so is usually on time and half decent. And being a German airline, the luggage usually arrives at the same time as me. Added to which, the UK to Frankfurt and then Samara is almost a straight line on the map. It only involves a 2 hour flight to Germany and a four hour one to Samara.

If you time it right, and are lucky, the connection time can be 40 minutes. I couldn’t get these times at all this time, so I had to wait a dreary six hours in Germany. Still, they had free wifi and I can manage Bratwurst and black coffee. And I bought a nice shirt at half off. I have schoolboy German so know pleasantries, numbers and basic transactional speak in German, so I can get by without looking like a dumb foreigner who must desperately seek out an English speaker.

And while we are in Germany, what’s with all the German guys with little oriental women suddenly? Its like an explosion. For a while I thought I was in Scandinavia by mistake. :chuckle: Not sure if they are Thai, Philippine, Korean or Chinese. Those ladies don’t look all that different to each other to my eye. But for sure, German men, like their Scandinavian cousins have gotten a taste of the oriental woman. To be fair, some of the women looked pretty good catches for the average square-looking badly dressed middle aged German guy. Some of those women have pretty good fashion sense and they seem to take care of themselves. Pity the same cannot be said of the men with them.

Samara has always been a drag to enter Russia through. One agency website a few years ago specifically and emphatically advised against it and said ONLY use Moscow and connect internally to avoid being rolled for a bribe or given a hard time there.

On my old topic from a few years ago, Olga recounted a would-be corruption tale here and they tried to roll my wife on a visit in recent times too. Only that she recognised the customs guy as an ex student of hers did she get out of it – the guy ended up carrying her bags to the car outside. :chuckle:

I have always found them to be slow but you get there in the end. The more old visas you have (and they look), the more they see you are not a newbie and let you by without grief. That has always been my experience anyway.

However, in 2008 it took an age to get in. But I got in.

But last time I went there was some sporting event going on. They had nice English speaking female staff out in the foyer helping foreigners, handing out pens and helping with immigration cards. At the time, I cited this as “changing Russia” and assumed the old days had gone.

Nope. Regression has occurred.

I had no pen. I always have a pen, but this time I didn’t. I needed to fill in my immigration card as they hadn’t given them out on the airline as usual. No problem, pens will be on the counter. Nope. No problem, I’ll borrow one…….

But nobody else seemed to have one either. I identified an American by sight (and non American travellers will know how I did that – ask if you want me to elaborate). He had the big fanny pack with pens. He gave me one. It didn’t work. 😀

Not to be defeated, I asked a passing customs guy. He had one in his hand but wouldn’t lend it me. (:)

So I wandered past the queue and asked a border guard. He had a pot of pens but said no. :duh:

So I went to the next cubicle, and that guy lent me one.

Then I noticed on the immigration card, one could choose between being a “Male” and a “Famale” – I mean my god, – on an official document? If they cant get basic stuff like that right, is there any hope? :'(

So eventually I arrived at the cubicle to find a very bored and angry looking woman. The usual Russian bureaucrat behind glass. I make a point never to understand a word of Russian in such circumstances unless it behoves me to do so. But I slipped up.

“Gavarit pa Rooskie?”
“Nyet” – shit. :'( “Ummm. I don’t understand?” :innocent:
Her: 😀

Then we have the usual five minutes of her reading all my old stamps and visas.

She then starts to write the usual War and Peace on her computer whilst intermittently intently staring at the screen. After a few minutes of this, I am thinking ‘Really, how long does it take?’ I am bored by now and say “problyema?” and quickly cough, and say again “is there a problem?” (Hours in Germany plus the flights had dulled my reactions and I was ready for sleep)

She says “Da, probleyma” and then something else garbled that I didn’t get about the issuing of my visa. Well, I know this gag, this is the old in a side room and invitation paperwork and $50-$100 gag I am being primed for. So I changed tack.

“Do you speak English?”
“Nyet” (Touche – well played, love.)
“I think you do. You must in your job. My visa was issued in London, I know there is no problem with it. However, I have people waiting outside to collect me, one of whom is a lawyer, I can call him and you can speak to him on my phone to clear up any misunderstandings if that helps?” (Complete bollox by the way, but worth a shot – and I cant do that sentence in Russian.)

Long delay with no eye contact……………..

Suddenly, feverish stamping happens. 🙂 (When the stamping starts, you know you are in and its done). She pushes my visa and half registration slip back at me and looks the other way without a word.

I take them and go to move through the gate. But it is still locked and the lights are still red. Silly game huh?

“Dyevooshka?” I said mischievously while pointing at the red lights. She does this face (:) together with a big dramatic sigh (like she had released it three times already but I was too stupid to walk).

“Welcome to Russia” I said back to her as I walked through the gate. I can feel a Tweet to Medvedev coming on…….

What do these people get out of this? Surely it takes less energy to not do all the sulking, sighing, delaying and just do your damn job! Check the visa and stamp it, What two minutes tops? Why should it take fifteen minutes and fifty overheated people behind you?

New Russia indeed………. Continue reading

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The Importance of Good English When Communicating with Foreign Women

Whilst some foreign women are open to the idea of foreign guys, the language issue is a major hurdle to overcome. Many Russian and Ukrainian women surf the internet seeking foreign guys on forums and such in search of them.

However, the thought of a group of foreign guys discussing them en masse is a bit of a turn off for many. Many think some of the conversations are not entirely tasteful or respectful. At least, that’s the feedback I have had.

People on internet forums speak casually, with many errors and with much slang, it is not an ideal place to practice or develop English. There are also many variants of English language (and spellings) here from across the world. Occasionally, Aussies must translate something for the Brits; or the Brits for the Yanks, etc. How does a non-native speaker go on unless they are beyond fluent? And few are.

Our sharp humour and side-splitting repartee (where it exists) seldom translates literally; rather, it requires interpretation. Software cannot interpret; only people can. So the women who read here using a translation programme often read gobbledygook where the English variants, grammatical and spelling errors, slang and second meanings form a jumble of words that are far from what was intended by the respective authors.

Can bad English damage your communications?

It can. Many people try to cobble together a relationship with poor communication fuelled by free software translation. Software makes many errors; but more importantly, software is only as good as what you put into it.

As many will know, my wife does a lot of translation for guys in this pursuit. A few weeks ago, a guy sent her something for translation that she read, and read again, and much of it made no sense to her. The reason? No paragraphs, little punctuation or capitalisation and atrocious spelling and grammar.

She asked me if I would mind running quickly through it with a spell check, putting in a few paragraph breaks, and correcting the big howlers and try to turn it into something in a few minutes that she could comprehend. I did, and from that, she was able to make it in Russian, be what it was intended to be.

Missing punctuation leads to much ambiguity; meaning that one must ask the author what they meant, rather than it being clear in the first place. Get the punctuation right and the message (not to mention the translation) will be clear. Here is a good example of how altering punctuation can change the meaning:

A woman without her man is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

I guess the point of the topic is to highlight to guys the importance of using the best English you are able to, when in communication with Russian, Ukrainian and FSU women. Continue reading

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How to choose a Russian interpreter or translator

A translator/interpreter should be a really good psychologist, should be able to predict or detect any Red Flags, should be able to encourage or comfort, to clarify any cultural or meaning misunderstandings, should not be afraid to do it not once if need arises till 2 parties understand each other to the end.

An inexperienced translator sometimes chooses incorrect expressions that can change the meaning of your words completely, or make your letters sound stilted and clumsy; the last thing you want when you are building up a delicate relationship with a lady. In situations like this, it is as important HOW you say something as WHAT you say.

Relevant experience is essential. It is very good if a person actually lives in the USA, UK or Canada, to really understand all the cultural realities men live in; be able to explain the differences between the two countries.

If a translator came through the fiancée visa process herself and knows all the details, how to avoid some difficulties, save time and how and where to get necessary documents, then she can share all this information with the lady when the time comes, and give advice on that, based on personal experience. Continue reading

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