Dictionary of Advanced Russian Usage
Author: Michael Kayser
Publisher: Schreiber Publishing
This dictionary represents a painstaking, sincere effort to fill in the gaps left by even the most comprehensive English-Russian/Russian-English dictionaries. It is not intended for beginners who are looking for basic word-to-word equivalents such as “table – стол” or “window – окно”. It is intended for those who, upon reading through several possible translations of a specific word, phrase or idiom, often find themselves saying: “None of this is quite right, none of these possibilities hits the bull’s eye.” An inspired translation will satisfy on three levels: 1) precision of meaning; 2) the image which is evoked and 3) the actual sound of the word or phrase. For example, if one is to look up “Boot Hill” in virtually any English-Russian dictionary or on-line, one will invariably find the following: “кладбище (на Западе США); кладбище в пограничном городке на Западе США”. Even a moderately gifted student or translator would scoff at such a translation because it does not begin to render the spirit or impact of the English phrase “Boot Hill”. It is totally inadequate on two of the three levels listed above. How does “Мёртвая гора” (кладбище на Дальнем Севере – Death/Dead mountain) sound? It is a thousand times better on all three levels than what one finds ANYWHERE. Where does one find such a phrase? You keep your eyes peeled and your ears wide open and your Russian-English subliminal translation machine constantly in gear because you never know when such a gem will pop up. I ran across this particular expression while reading Boris Shergin, a far-northern writer and teller of tales. Have you had to translate “wow factor”? You won’t find much in any dictionary – quite often it is rendered as “wow фактор” or “вау фактор”. If you’re not offended by this, then the fate of the Russian tongue is obviously of no concern to you. How about “степень отпадности”? Current slang for something awesome is “отпадный”, so you’re just right around the corner from forming the suggested translation. Multiply this by several thousand examples based on decades of study and you a tool like no other.