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29 April 2020
University Students Translate War Chronicles into English

An Exercise in Patriotism

Jointly with the Institute of Foreign Languages ​​of  Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University, we are honored to present the translations of the local newspaper chronicles from the World War II period into English, made by 5th year students in the course of their English language studies.

The original texts are 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.

Find all articles using hashtag #mytranslation2020

To my Brothers - Warriors

We present to your attention the first student work - the translation of a letter from a schoolboy living in the village of Obyachevo to his brothers.

Translated by Kristina Ponomareva.

The original source is the local newspaper, Za Noviy Sever, September 23, 1941. 

It has been only three months since the war began... 

To my brothers – warriors

Recently in our newspaper, you have read about Anatoliy Panaev, a pupil of the 10th grade of the Obyachevo secondary school, a Komsomol member and a young hunter. He has written a letter to his three brothers, the Red Army soldiers at the frontline. Below, we reprint this letter.

To my brothers, Ivan, Nikolay and Vasiliy Panaevs

Hello to you, dear brothers, from me and the whole family!

I decided to write you a few words in response to a letter that I recently received from Vanya. Vanya writes that he is aboard the ship with his comrades; they shoot and send to the bottom Nazi pirates. I believe that you, my dear Nikolay and Vasiliy, each of you in your post, slay Hitler’s villains without mercy just as Vanya does.

So do beat them harder, beat them mercilessly, beat them for all the atrocities they commit on their way to hell. Make sure these mad cutthroats know that they will be repaid for blood by blood, for one death by dozens of deaths.

Dear brothers,

Your courageous and selfless struggle against blood-thirsty Nazi villains is the struggle for our people’s happiness, for our culture, for our Motherland, for Stalin! So do not spare anything in this fight against a fierce enemy! Be steadfast, courageous, and unshakable. The whole world and all progressive and cultured humanity is looking at your struggle. Behind you, in the fight against this odious gang of murderers and beasts is the Soviet nation of 200 million people providing all possible support, sparing neither the strength nor the means.

As you know, the Soviet schoolchildren do their best to help the battlefront. Pupils of our school have picked more than 2,600 pounds of berries and delivered them to the Defense Fund. The majority of our pupils helped collective farms to gather the harvest. I did not take any days off the whole summer. As a result, I have earned more than 100 labour-days. A new school year has already begun. I have decided to study better. I want to finish school with honors, enroll in an aviation school, graduate, and beat the enemies the same way as our heroic pilots Zdorovtsev, Kharitonov and Zhukov do.

At home, everything is fine. In our collective farm, life is in full swing. Harvesting is going successfully. This year our collective farm has yielded a rich harvest. Our sister Maria still works in a gardening brigade. She has grown a great amount of beets, cucumbers, and carrots. Now, vegetables are in large quantities on the collective farm market.

Our mother helps a lot the collective farm as well. She can still cope with the daily work norm. She sends you her mother’s love and gives you the order to defeat fascism as quickly as possible.

I wish you and all your comrades in arms the very best success in your fight against the enemy.

With warm Komsomol regards,

your brother Anatoliy.


The original article, Za Noviy Sever, September 23, 1941

More student translations will appear on this site daily from 30 April to 9 May 2020.

These publications are dedicated to the 75th victory anniversary of the Great Patriotic War of 1941 - 1945.

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