WHO hosts training for Russian translators in Moscow


As work on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the WHO European Region steps up, there is an increasing need to ensure that information is available in Russian. Acknowledging this, the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Office) and the Languages Unit within the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation, in collaboration with the WHO Country Office in the Russian Federation, ran a training course for over 30 Russian translators and WHO staff. The training, which took place in Moscow, aimed to strengthen WHO/Europe’s capacity to develop knowledge for health in the Russian language.

Providing information on NCDs in Russian is one of the priorities of the NCD Office, which is funded through a voluntary contribution from the Government of the Russian Federation. The NCD Office works closely with many WHO Member States in eastern Europe and central Asia, where the demand for WHO materials and products in Russian is very high.

Developing and strengthening the pool of Russian translators in the Region

Maria Greenblat, Head of Languages at WHO/Europe, led the training. Participants discussed the key principles of translating for WHO as well as different types of translations, and familiarized themselves with the quality control process. They practiced translating challenging cases, and discussed difficulties that they face in, for example, getting nuances right and ensuring accuracy in translating technical language, and ways to overcome them.

The training contributed to strengthening the Region’s capacity to produce information in Russian, and to developing a pool of Russian freelance translators who could provide their services across WHO/Europe offices and divisions.

“This was a great opportunity to meet and to discuss important issues and challenges,” says Maria Greenblat. “Translators are usually behind the scenes and rarely have opportunities to meet face to face. As the need for quality Russian translation grows, we must ensure that we build capacity, widen the pool of accredited freelance translators and translation agencies, and build an open communication channel to share experiences, discuss terminology and ensure the best quality.”