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SLA2: Translation from Russian and Oral A

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.


This Paper has two components: Translation from Russian into English, and Oral Russian.

Translation is an effective way of learning a foreign language. This exercise will expose you to a variety of basic Russian grammatical constructions and will help you to build up your vocabulary. You will be encouraged to look at the linguistic differences and similarities between the two languages and to develop your grasp of the essential structures and elements of Russian. 

Oral component: this part of the Paper is taught by native speakers, and it will enable you to acquire and to develop conversation skills through a variety of texts and exercises, in interaction with your teacher and with each other. 

Aims and objectives: 

Translation from Russian into English:

You will acquire the ability to read, understand and translate authentic Russian texts into appropriately idiomatic English by developing your grasp of grammatical structures of Russian, building up your vocabulary and improving your analytical and problem-solving skills.  

Oral Component:

Working with a range of source materials you will learn to reflect and elaborate on texts you will be working with and to express your ideas and opinions in fluent, grammatically correct Russian using the relatively limited linguistic resources that you will have mastered at this stage of the course.

Course materials: 


There is no course book for this Paper. All materials will be placed on Moodle. The homework will be set every week.

Oral practice:

For work on pronunciation, you will receive handouts for use in class and for practicing at home. In Michaelmas Term, the work will be based on Colloquial Russian by Svetlana Le Fleming and Susan Kay; In Lent and Easter terms, you will be working with an interactive online resource that has been specifically designed for the needs of Cambridge students. It will help you to build up your vocabulary, as well as to consolidate basic grammar. You will also read and discuss graded authentic texts on topics of general interest while at the same time getting acquainted with aspects of Russian culture. 

Teaching and learning: 

There is a weekly translation class for this Paper. Passages will be set for homework which you will submit prior to the class and which will be corrected individually and then discussed in class. In class you will look at Russian texts, discuss aspects of grammar, vocabulary and style, and consider the most effective ways of rendering the texts into fluent, idiomatically authentic English. In the Michaelmas Term passages for translation are designed to take account of your progression through the basic grammar course. Subsequent translation is from graded passages of authentic material.

The conversation component of this paper is taught by native speakers in Oral supervisions. The supervisions are held in groups of two or three. Each Oral supervision involves structured conversation on specific themes, designed both to illustrate the relevant points of grammar and gradually to build up a diverse vocabulary. The Introduction to Russian class will also help to develop your pronunciation, listening comprehension and conversation skills.  The course is rigorous, and by the end of the academic year students are expected to maintain a conversation in Russian on a variety of general topics.

For the SLA2 Moodle site, please see here


Weekly translation homework gets corrected and you will also receive oral feedback. The three-hour examination at the end of the academic year consists of two passages in Russian for translation into English.

There are no marks for oral work in supervisions, but you will get feedback on your performance in the form of written online reports at the end of the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.  In the Oral examination, which takes place on the fourth Friday of the Easter Term you will be given fifteen minutes to read and digest a text chosen by the examiners. The examination itself lasts 10 -12 minutes and it consists of reading aloud from and giving a brief summary of the text, followed by a conversation based on the content of the text. 

Course Contacts: 
Dr Elena Filimonova
Dr Bryan Karetnyk


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