Joseph H.
LondonUnited Kingdom
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Russian - English Translator

After graduating with a First Class degree in Modern and Medieval Languages from King's College Cambridge, I have spent many years working as a freelance Russian - English translator, alongside forging a career as an actor and a musician. In January 2021 I passed my Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) in Russian to English translation, awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists. My real passion is translating texts with a more artistic bent, and I have great flare and creativity when translating poems and songs, but I am equally at ease with journalistic and more prosaic translation. Between 2012 and 2020 I worked, first full-time and then part-time, as a translator for the highly anticipated DAU film project (dir. Ilya Khrzhanovskii). This allowed me to really flex my translation muscles as the material was so varied: from very high-brow, artistic, poetic and scientific registers, right down to the extremely vulgar and colloquial. The work mainly consisted of subtitling unedited footage, none of which was scripted, and all of which encompassed a huge variety of people and situations. This posed many unique challenges in terms of translating register, and working within the very strict limitations set by the necessities of subtitling. I also previously worked as a translator on a documentary film project, while I was still in my final year of university. This was The Dark Matter of Love (dir. Sarah McCarthy). I was tasked with translating interviews with adults and children, as the documentary tracked the adoption by an American family of three children from orphanages in Russia. Alongside this, in my final year of university, I was shortlisted for Rossica International Young Translators Award (2012) for a translation of an excerpt from Viktor Pelevin's novel S.N.U.F.F. During my time working on the DAU Project, I also took on other freelance work which included: translating articles written by the Russian Local Organising Committee of FIFA World Cup 2018, through, to be published by the official FIFA website; translating articles from Russian into English for Heat Magazine for archive purposes; translating two plays by celebrated Russian playwright Ilya Chlaki. In addition to my experience as a translator, I am also a professional actor. I spent a year training at the State Theatre Arts Academy in St. Petersburg, where I spent the third year of my undergraduate degree. During this time I was immersed in Russian language and culture, as all of the teaching was extremely wide-ranging and completely in Russian. It covered not only traditional aspects of actor training such as voice, movement and acting technique, but also history, literature, art and music. I also trained at and graduated from Drama Studio London in 2014 on the One Year Postgraduate Course and since doing so have worked on major UK theatre tours and extensively in regional theatres. I am an avid musician, I play piano, trumpet, and accordion. I am the accordionist and vocalist for London-based Balkan and Klezmer band The Balkanoes, for which I also compose music and songs. I feel this wide range of interests and skill sets all contribute to my expertise as a translator, as they not only acquaint me with many and multifarious texts, registers, and different ways of experiencing and expressing the world, but they also provide me with great insight into cultural nuances. I believe this is essential to creating good translations.

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  • Songwriting
  • Russian to English Translation
  • Poetry