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Thread: Mr Smith would like some help with understanding some short Russian texts

  1. #1
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    Mr Smith would like some help with understanding some short Russian texts

    Hello everyone!

    I have attempted to translate a passage of Russian text into English as far as I can. However, I am struggling with some parts. I have separated the text, sentence by sentence, and would very much appreciate any further input.

    Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Каждый год Петвовы выписывают журналы и газеты, и каждыи год семье идут споры, что лучше выписать.
    1. Every year the Petrovs subscribe to magazines and journals and every year they argue about what is best to subscribe to

    2. в этом году споров особенно много.
    2. This year they have been arguing more than they normally do.

    3. Дело в том, что у людей теперь большой выбор, но цены на газеты и журналы слишком высокие, и нужно много денег, чтобы выписать всё что они выписывали раньше.
    3. The point is that people now have a large choice, but the cost of newspapers and magazines is too high. A lot of money is necessary in order to subscribe to them all...’

    [I am unsure of the latter part of the sentence, ‘что они выписывали раньше’. Who is ‘they’ referring to? The Petrovs or ‘people’?]

    4. Сделать выбор теперь нелегко.
    4. It is not easy to make a choice, now.

    5. Как и большинство москвичей, Петровы выписывали много газет и журналов.
    5. Like the majority of Muscovites, the Petrovs used to subscribe to many newspapers and magazines.

    6. Некоторые из них интересуют и родителей, и детей, как например, ежедневная газета <<Известия>>, новая, << Независимая газета >>, еженедельники, << Литературная газета >>, и <<Огонёк>>, ежемесячный журнал <<Новый мир>>.
    6. Some of these are interesting for parents and children, for example, the daily newspaper ‘News’, the new ‘Independent Newspaper’, the weekly ‘Literature Newspaper’ and ‘Oganyok’, the monthly newspaper ‘The New World’.

    7. Все они очень интересны, и у них масса читателей.
    7. All of these are very interesting, and they all have a mass of readers.

    8. В них всегда можно найти много информации об искусстве и культуре, о политике и экономике, о жизни за рубежом.
    8. It is always possible to find in them much information about art and culture, about politics and economics, and about life abroad.

    9. От этих изданий Петровы не откажутся.
    9. The Petrovs did not refuse/turn down these editions.

    10. Не могут они отказаться и от еженедельника <<Семь дней>>.
    10. They cannot refuse/ turn them down, and from weekly ‘Family Day’.

    11. В нём обзор всех передач по радио и телевизору, всех фильмов и сериалов.
    11. In it (‘Family Day’) are reviews of all the radio and television broadcasts, films, and series.

    12. Таня и Дима хотят подписаться на свою любимую газету <<Комсомольская правда>>.
    12. Tanya and Deema want to subscribe to their favourite newspaper, ‘Komsomolskaya Truth’. [Does комсомольский refer to the place in Russia?]

    13. Таня мечтает о журнале <<Наука и жизнь>>.
    13. Tanya dreams about the magazine ‘Science and Life’.

    14. А как быть Галине Сергеевне и Алексею Ивановичу?
    14. But what are Galina and Alex to do?

    15. Алексей Иванович всегда получал <<Медицинскую газету>> для врачей, а Галина Сергеевна - <<Учительскую газету>>.
    15. Alex always received ‘The Medicine Newspaper’ for doctors, and Galina (always received) ‘The Teacher’s Newspaper’.

    16. И разве может Галина Сергеевпа прожить без своего любимого журнала <<Здоровье>>, без его полезных советов и рецептов?
    16. Can Galina really survive without her favourite magazine, ‘Health’, without its useful advice and recipes?

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    3. They can refer both people or Petrovs, grammatically - people, as they are in the same sentence, but logically all people (including Petrovs) need more money to have the same newspapers.
    6."The New World" is a magazine and a very thick one.
    9. The Petrovs won't refuse - "откажутся" is the future
    12. Комсомольская refers to the Communist Youth Union (I'Ve forgotten the exact name, though I certainly was there twenty years ago.) We had "Правда" as a main soviet paper for adult communists, the "Комсомольская правда" for the youth, the " Пионерская правда" - for the children

  3. #3
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    Hello there,

    Thanks so much for your help.

    Regarding sentence number 3, please can you offer a complete translation of it, as I have only managed to grasp the first part:

    3. Дело в том, что у людей теперь большой выбор, но цены на газеты и журналы слишком высокие, и нужно много денег, чтобы выписать всё, что они выписывали раньше.
    3. The point is that people now have a large choice, but the cost of newspapers and magazines is too high. A lot of money is necessary in order to subscribe to them all...’

    The last bit of the sentence 'что они выписывали раньше', is the part that is confusing me. I would crudely translate it as 'that/so they used to subscribe earlier', which clearly makes no sense. I don't understand what 'earlier' is meant to mean in this context. Who subscribed to what 'earlier, and WHY? Does this last bit insinuate that subscribing earlier was a less costly option? Was it the Petrovs who were subscribing earlier or people in general?

    If it isn't too much trouble, please translate the entire sentence into English as accurately as you can.

    I'm so baffled!

  4. #4
    Paul G.
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    It implies people in general.
    что = "what" and "that" too (depends on the context). I know it confuses native English speakers a lot.

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Smith View Post
    Regarding sentence number 3, please can you offer a complete translation of it, as I have only managed to grasp the first part:

    3. Дело в том, что у людей теперь большой выбор, но цены на газеты и журналы слишком высокие, и нужно много денег, чтобы выписать всё, что они выписывали раньше.
    "The [crux of] the matter is that people now have a large selection [from which to choose], but prices for newspapers and magazines are too high, and [people] need a lot of money in order to subscribe to everything, to which they formerly used to subscribe."

    Note carefully that in the original Russian , the "что" in "всё, что" is STRESSED (so it's pronounced shto, not shtuh, if you read the sentence out loud!).

    And it's stressed because it's not functioning as the conjunction "that" (as in "He said that he would be there"); it's functioning as an interrogative pronoun, and can be translated as "what" or "which". Thus, "...всё, что..." can be translated as "everything which" or "all of the stuff." (Compare Что блестит -- не всё то золото, "[That] which glistens -- not all [of] that [is] gold.")

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Smith View Post
    I don't understand what 'earlier' is meant to mean in this context. Who subscribed to what 'earlier, and WHY? Does this last bit insinuate that subscribing earlier was a less costly option? Was it the Petrovs who were subscribing earlier or people in general?
    Taking your questions in order:

    1. раньше in THIS context means "in the past; in former times; in the good old days" (as opposed to "a few hours ago" or "sooner than other people", which can be used to translate раньше in other contexts)
    2. People in general formerly subscribed to lots of newspapers/magazines, back in the good old days when they cost less.
    3. People in general, the Petrovs among them
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  6. #6
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    And by the way, this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Smith View Post
    9. От этих изданий Петровы не откажутся.
    ...I would suggest translating with something like "The Petrovs can't bring themselves to say no to these publications" or "...just can't bear to give up..."

    Compare with я не откажусь от шоколада -- which is a complaint/confession you might hear from someone on a diet!

    Also, in #6: "...интересуют и родителей, и детей..." is best translated as "they're interesting both for parents and for children" or "for parents and children alike."

    And #10: Не могут они отказаться и от еженедельника <<Семь дней>> could be rendered as "They can't "Just Say No" to the weekly 'Seven Days', either." Or, "They also can't..." or "They likewise can't."

    Finally, adding to Aluette's comment: "Комсомольская правда" was originally an official "Communist party mouthpiece" aimed at young adults. But in the post-Soviet era, it gained a new reputation for being editorially independent and often challenging the government, which of course also has tended to increase its circulation in Russia and its respectability among Western journalists. On the other hand, the newspaper has also been criticized for being tabloid-ish and for printing rumors without adequate fact-checking. But even so, the modern version is utterly unlike the Soviet-era version.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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