Translation and emigration Working in your native language out of your native country

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My life circumstances are that I am Russian, but I live in Spain. Moreover, I am a translator, so I am supposed to have the perfect knowledge of my own language in all its evolution. It has always been challenging for me, so this question interests me a lot: is it possible to maintain the same level of your native language living in a different country?

I developed several methods in order to preserve my “good Russian”.

  1. Reading in your native language. Classical o modern literature, manuals, articles and all kinds of texts generated by skilled natives.
  2. Following the language development. Any language is not static, it keeps changing: adding new words, eliminating obsolete ones, adopting new expressions, spelling and grammar rules. It is important to follow it if you are not in your native language environment. How? There are always some reference web sites, like in Russian or RAE in Spain. Besides, it is useful to watch TV shows or listen to radio programs in your native country in order to see how people change the manner of expressing themselves.
  3. Having grammar reference books in your native language at hand. I have some thesaurus and grammar guides on my working table and it helps to resolve doubts when they arise.
  4. Installing applications, programs and games in your native language. I normally test every digital content I use in my everyday life, even out of work hours, in Russian. It´s like feeling yourself a localization tester: you learn new things and terms and see how this content can be improved.
  5. Talking to compatriots. Though all translators spend the major part of their time working with written texts, speaking is also important.

Following these five rules, I faced one big problem. The case is that the quality of the accessible content is steadily decreasing, especially influenced by social media. Internet is a global environment of free self-expression where grammar and spelling rules seem not to work. From year to year, there are more and more mistakes and poorly formulated sentences, even in the texts generated by natives, not translated. There are some examples of good texts, though. When I find them, I feel happy and inspired.

If you are in the same circumstances as me, what are your tricks for maintaining the perfect level of your own language?

Natalia Sgibneva

About Natalia Sgibneva

EN-RU and ES-RU professional translator. Key areas: fashion, cosmetics, marketing, advertisement and tourism.

2 thoughts on “Translation and emigration Working in your native language out of your native country

  1. Btw., i have never thought about such a problem. I can see by myself, that the quality of usual Russian net content is too poor, sometimes. But can you subscribe to hardcopied content? I know that, e.g., the Ukrainian newspaper named Express demonstrate excellent style and grammar. The same might be said of some Russian books, magazines and newspapers. Successes to you 🙂 !

  2. Hi Natalia!

    Your article really reflects the challenges we face when we don’t live in our country of origin. For me, it helps being very nostalgic of home; every day, I read the news, I listen to the same radio I used to listen before I moved, I talk a lot with my family and friends, and I have the luck that I can also speak Spanish at home.
    However, I agree with you it can be a challenge finding sources which have proper style and language, particularly in the news.


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