🇺🇸 Transcribe Loanwords into Russian? Don’t Be a Wimp And Just Write Them in English As Is

Screw translating English words, screw transcribing words into Russian. Why even bother, really? There’s little honor in this. Instead, they’ve gone and written ’em words in English as is. Hell yeah!

OK. I have a confession to make. Time to ‘fess up, so to speak. It’s important…. and embarrassing at the same time.

Alright, breathe in breathe out.


Being my native language, Russian is not my forte and never has been.

Surely, I can communicate in it, as well as any other native Russian speaker, after all it is this language that I grew up with, but when it comes to writing… That’s where things get quite interesting.

In fact, I just don’t write all that well in Russian. Didn’t think it would be that necessary down the road. It’s not the skill I had heavily invested my time into. Hence, no wonder I would get “B” in Russian and “A” in English as my regular grades. I’m not being particularly proud of it, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

You might be wondering why on earth I am telling you all this and what it has do with English loanwords in Russian.

First things first

But before connecting the dots I kindly invite you, gentle reader, to familiarize yourselves with the Russian sentences below.

Pay attention to the highlighted text.


I am going to catch a lot of heat for this one. Never bothered translating the terms in Russian before this day.

Well, here’s my stab at it:

*спектр навыков межличностного общения (soft skills)

*спектр технических / профессиональных навыков (hard skills)


*доступ к соревнованиям по усмотрению организаторов

* приглашение от организаторов на участие в соревновании


*компания с большим оборотом наличных денег


*Man… even I am at loss here.

I guess it has to do with “кредитная карта“, nothing more.


*система проживания в отелях с питанием “всё включено”

not probably the best alternative but it sure is better than “all inclusive” in English as is


*план действий


* серия игр на выбывание, по итогам которой определяется победитель турнира

* серия игр на выбывание

sometimes it’s written as “плей-офф” in Russian… which is, you know… yeah…


*Доля акций в свободном обращении


Upon reading all this stuff, for a minute there I thought that something has happened to Russian, this side of biblical calamity of some kind.

The end is near, man…

I asked around, and once again, 9/10 had no clue what they had read (I showed them the sentences above). There’s something to this number “9” I guess…

Oh, almost forgot to mention, they even couldn’t read latin alphabet to begin with. Not that they were dummies or anything, but last I heard, the Russian alphabet didn’t comprise any latin letters.

Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but you got the idea.

I lingered in apprehension and doubts a bit while longer, then brushed my angst, all gloomy and stunned, away.


Nothing to see here, move along.

Business as usual, Jack.


I’ve gotta wonder…

There are some folks out there who get writing down to a fine art. That’s the skill they polish days, nah years on end like you wouldn’t believe so as to make a living with their writing down the pike.

They usually major in journalism, Russian, and whatnot.

But for these folks to major in any of the writing-related fields, first they have to compete among each other to get accepted into universities. The competition is fierce, let me tell you. No quarter is given. Which means, that the competitors keep upping their game by all means possible, that is to say, they cram books and then study some more. Nah ah! Slacking doesn’t just cut it.

The outlined above lay of the land applies to Russia. Your mileage may differ.

Once the bodies of less worthy men are dragged away from the gruesomely bloodied intellectual battlefield, the real studying kicks in.

And as years go by the incapables, the lazy, the slow-on-the-up-take are gradually weeded out, thus leaving the cream of the crop in terms of intelligence and writing abilities in the game.

Some intellectual meat grinder!

How come?

Here’s the way I see it.

These folks, the full-fledged journalists with their fair share of writing experience and expertise under their belts, are supposedly the smartest folks out there when it comes writing in Russian. I might be wrong here, but then again, that’s the way I see it.

Well, it just can’t possibly be otherwise, given that they work for the biggest newspapers in the country.

And then, for some reason or other, they can’t stop churning out masterpieces the likes of which you had read above.

What did I do to deserve that?

How come this is all even happening to Russian?

Modus Operandi

Screw translating English words, screw transcribing words into Russian. Why even bother, really? There’s little honor in this.

Instead, they’ve gone and written ’em words in English as is. Hell yeah!

That’s what these folks were taught to do?

Be that as it may, it’s trendy.

It sounds foreign, thus making you look smart relative to your Russian fellows, no matter whether you know what the words mean or not.

The vibe is marvelous.

It just feels good.

And apparently, newspapers’ readership loves it.

Silver Lining

Turns out, some journalists play it safe. They are not called cream of the crop for nothing, after all. Which tells me that some rotten apples made their way into the trade, against all odds. Stuff happens.


Three sentences below demonstrate what one can do to work around the translation / transcribing inconveniences.

Watch and learn, it’s not that hard as it may seem.




You saw that? You sure?

Yes! You got it! Describe at length what an English term means in Russian.

Since your readership’s language is Russian then do the describing bit in Russian. Don’t get any funny ideas, you smartypants.

See? I told you, it wasn’t that hard.

It’s all the matter of getting the hang of it.

What’s more, it tells your readers that you care about their common sense and sanity, which is not half bad.

And with that I am inclined to bring the curtain down on the article as the word count thereof exceeded 1000 words. That and simply because it’s all I have to tell you for today!

Thanks for the read!

Until next time!

Looking forward to your thoughts in the comments section below.


2 thoughts on “🇺🇸 Transcribe Loanwords into Russian? Don’t Be a Wimp And Just Write Them in English As Is

  1. Oooooooh, another good one, Ilya! Did those quotes seriously come straight from Russian newspapers? Haha, I’m just imagining if the tables were turned and an English newspaper did that with Russian words + no explanations. But on the other hand, English does have a way of easily coining (sticky) new terms… I think you mentioned that in previous comment. Yesterday, I was looking through a document and the RU team had decided to translate soundpack as саундпак, attaching a long explanation about how it was the lesser evil of all available choices. It reminded me of your posts on this topic! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The same happens in culinary blogs. It was quite difficult to avoid completely when I started to write in Russian. It took time and effort to translate or more precisely to describe at length the terms, procedures or names of the dishes, only to finally accept that маленький индивидуальный кекс is a muffin. I am still not ready though to call ватрушка as cheesecake, because it is not one and the same thing.
    I was glad to discover your writings, stimulating read. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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