Department of Slavonic Studies

Modern & Medieval Languages

Department of Slavonic Studies

Paper RU C1

Translation from and into Russian

Course Advisors in 2013-14: Dr Jana Howlett and Dr Susan Larsen

The Paper

This paper, revised with effect from 2012-13, assesses student's skills in translating short passages into and out of Russian.

What are the examiners looking for? In translating into English, they will be assessing a candidate's ability to comprehend the original passage and convey its sense, including specialised vocabulary where this is present. In addition, they will be keen to see stylistic manipulation of the English version in order to produce a natural and fluent text.

In translating into the foreign language, examiners will look for grammatical accuracy over a wide range of structures, as well as a range of vocabulary used appropriately and good command of idioms. They will also be alert to the candidate's ability to control register and tone.


Preparatory Reading

The most useful preparation students can do for this paper is to read as widely and as actively as possible in authentic Russian texts and to continue systematically developing their command of Russian grammar. Students who wish to do concentrated work on expanding their vocabulary and grasp of linguistic nuance and/or whose scheduled papers do not provide them with extensive practice in reading Russian are encouraged  to work with one of more of the following  texts, both over the summer and during the academic year:

  • Gary Browning et al., Leveraging Your Russian With Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes (Slavica Publishers, 2001).
  • Natalia Strelkova, Introduction to Russian-English Translation:  Tactics and Techniques for the Translator (Hippocrene Books, 2012)
  • Terence Wade and Nihole White, Using Russian Synonyms  (Cambridge UP, 2004)
  • Terence Wade, Using Russian Vocabulary (Cambridge UP, 2009)



Students will be assigned a group and teaching will be arranged in fortnightly classes for a total of no more than 10 classes over the year;  of these five will focus on translation into Russian and five on translation from Russian. . These classes will focus on the relevant skills required for the understanding the different elements of this paper. For the 'Translation from Russian' element, students will work on a wide range of passages of different periods, styles and registers, with particular attention given to syntax, vocabulary and grammatical structures. For the 'Prose Composition/Translation into Russian' element, students will practise translating from various styles and registers of English, developing a command of Russian grammar, vocabulary and idiom.

Written work is to be prepared for each fortnightly class.


RuC1 is a two-hour examination during which students will be asked to translate two passages of equal length (250 words each), one from Russian into English and one from English into Russian.  These texts will normally be linguistically more demanding than those set in Part IB.  This paper is weighted as 70% of a full paper.

Individuals with Raven passwords may download copies of recent examination papers from the Faculty CamTools site here.



Dr Jana Howlett, Jesus College,

Dr Susan Larsen, Fitzwilliam College,