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SLB3: Translation into Russian and Russian through the Media

The information below is being drafted and likely to change or be updated. Please contact slavonic@mmll.cam.ac.uk if you have any questions.

This paper is made up of two distinct components: Translation from English into Russian and Russian through Audio-visual Media (MD), the B3 Translation and MD elements will help you develop your linguistic skills and cultural competence in a range of areas. 

The B3 paper is only available to Part IB (i.e., second-year students) who had an A-level or equivalent in the language when they arrived. In addition, if your other language is ab initio, you can choose not to do this paper in Russian and instead do an extra literature/linguistics paper from the schedule of IB papers. If, however, both your languages are post A-level, then this paper (both components) is compulsory.

Translation into a foreign language is a challenging but effective tool of learning that language. This Paper will expose you to non-specialised texts of various styles and registers and it will help you to refine the skills necessary to communicate in Russian effectively: gaining accuracy, clarity and flexibility.  Not only will it enable you to master complex grammatical constructions and build up your vocabulary but also encourage you to think about adequacy and appropriateness of expression in written communication. You will focus on the structural differences between the two languages, with  the emphasis on English grammatical constructions which have no exact equivalent in Russian.

Aims and objectives: 

If you attend all classes and carry out all the set work for the B3 Translation paper, by the end of the year you will be able to:

  • Identify translation problems in passages taken from a range of sources (for example, literature, essay, newspaper articles).
  • Develop and apply a set of strategies to tackle translation problems.
  • Acquire and use with confidence a wide range of vocabulary and idiom in Russian.
  • Develop your ability to compensate effectively and resourcefully for lexical gaps.
  • Have a strong command of Russian grammar.
  • Develop your awareness of register and tone in Russian.
  • Hone your sensitivity to stylistic features in English texts.
  • Enhance your understanding of contrastive grammar in English and Russian.

If you follow the course (attending classes, supervisions, and lectures, as appropriate) and carry out all the set work for the MD paper, you will meet the following aims and objectives:

  • Broaden your understanding of the culture of the Russian-speaking world.
  • Consolidate and further develop your command of Russian, with a particular focus on oral skills and aural comprehension.
  • Engage critically with content discussed in videos.
  • Enhance your ability to write expository-argumentative texts in Russian.
  • Develop your ability to discuss orally topics of cultural import concisely and effectively.
  • Improve your research skills using authentic written and audio-visual sources in Russian.
  • Develop your presentation skills. 
Course materials: 

You will find a dedicated Moodle site for each component of this paper (one for B3 Translation into Russian and one for MD) with all the material for classroom use and for independent study, as well as numerous resources. You will be given access to the Moodle sites at the beginning of the academic year. The Language Centre Online also provides useful resources for self-study.

There is no set grammar book for this course, but if you would like to continue to do dedicated grammar practice, here are two good books you can use:

  • Terence Wade, A Comprehensive Russian Grammar (Blackwell)
  • Gary Browning et al., Leveraging Your Russian With Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes (Slavica Publishers, 2001). You may order this book directly from the publisher, https://slavica.indiana.edu/
Teaching and learning: 

In the B3 Translation component you will practice translation into Russian in a fortnightly class. This class builds on your grammatical and lexical knowledge of the language through systematic practice and feedback, helping you develop the skills and the confidence to translate complex English structures and registers into Russian.

The Russian Through the Media (MD) component is taught in a fortnightly class during Michaelmas and Lent (no teaching in Easter). You may also be advised to attend lectures in the language or view equivalent recorded content. The MD paper offers you the opportunity to engage with authentic material/sources in Russian and to explore a number of cultural topics relevant to the Russian-speaking world while building up your vocabulary and your command of both spoken and written Russian. 

Paper B3 will be complemented by 8 college supervisions, typically 3 in Michaelmas, 3 in Lent and 2 in Easter. Supervisions are intended to enhance your opportunities for oral practice, and to allow you to delve deeper into the MD paper topics. The two final supervisions in Easter will focus on translation.

Both classes will be conducted in Russian. 

For the SLB3 Moodle site, please see here

For the SLMD Moodle site, please see here

Assessment: 

The Translation component of the B3 paper is assessed in a two-hour examination. The exam consists of two passages in English (200 words each) which you are asked to translate into Russian. No dictionaries or other reference materials are allowed.

The Russian Through the Media component will be assessed via a 5-7 minute video recording to be submitted in week 4 of the Easter term. Here are some key details about this task:

  • Your video should last 5-7 minutes. No submissions over 7 minutes long will be  accepted.
  • You will be able to choose the topic of your video presentation. Your class teacher and/or supervisor will be able to offer you advice on the suitability of your topic.
  • The video recording must be your own independent work. Your supervisor will not be able to offer feedback on the actual plan, nor on the recording.
  • Your video must contain a minimum of 500 words uttered by you.
  • You will also need to submit a synopsis of up to 150 words of your video which will not be assessed, but you will need to submit it so it can be checked for plagiarism.
  • Content and language will be equally weighted when assessing your video submission.
  • You may use presentation software for your video if you wish (e.g. Powerpoint, Prezi, Google Slides), but this is not compulsory. You may choose to present your content in other ways. Either option is equally valid.
  • You will have to show your face at the start of the video for identification purposes; after that, it is your choice whether your face is on camera or not.
  • One one-hour session will be offered to all students taking this paper across the Faculty to offer technical guidance and advice on producing your video.

NB: Marking criteria for this paper will be released and uploaded here in Michaelmas Term 2022

Course Contacts: 
Dr Elena Filimonova
Vera Tsareva-Brauner

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