An Exercise in Patriotism

The Institute of Foreign Languages ​​of Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University helped the National Library of the Komi Republic to make translations of the local newspaper chronicles from the World War II period into English. It was made by the 5th year students in the course of their English language studies.

The original texts were borrowed from the local newspaper, Za Noviy Sever (To the New North). Some of them have appeared in the 2020 online library project, Chronograph, which introduces newspaper articles of the past to a wider public. Others are available as digitized copies in the National Electronic Library of the Komi Republic (NEL).

The partnership project was initiated by the Foreign Language Literature Department of the National Library of Komi with an aim to popularize reading of the local press of the past. The project is dedicated to the 75th victory anniversary of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

The old newspaper publications do not only give an accurate account of the life in the Komi Republic in those tough years, but also allow to imagine the scale of the heroic efforts the Soviet people were making, both at the battlefront and at home.

A large number of newspaper texts are letters from the front and letters to the front. On the one hand, we are introduced to personal stories conveyed in simple language, sometimes touching, sometimes slightly naïve, but never desperate. On the other hand, we can feel the civic pathos that reigned in the minds and hearts of people. The students had a difficult task of finding the right wording for this combination of propaganda clichés and sincere emotions. Rendering precisely the realities of the Soviet era and typically Komi realities in a foreign language was a particularly challenging exercise for young translators.

Practical Application of Classroom Work

Students’ instructor Elena Belkina, senior professor of the Foreign Language Department, believes they coped with the work treating history with care and responsibility:

“All the translations were made in the course of Theory and Practice of Professional Interpretation. We had 36 hours of classroom work to get the ropes of translation skills. It is important that theoretical knowledge could find a practical application. Fulfilling the library’s order, the students understood the responsibility and scrupulousness of the interpreter’s work and the importance of respectful treatment of the original text. I hope they were able to convey the feelings and thoughts of our courageous fellow citizens who lived in our republic at that difficult and heroic time. I am grateful to the library staff for their active cooperation in the project. Special thanks to Olga Demidenko, a specialist of the Foreign Language Literature Department, for her editorial work”.

The students’ translations and original articles will be published on the English website of the National Library of the Komi Republic and in the blog of the Foreign Language Literature Department on the Russian website. The publications will appear from April 30 to May 9 in the chronological order, starting from 1941.

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