On 12 February 2020, Anastasia Kurnakova, a sophomore student of the Russian New University (RosNOU) majoring in Linguistics, presented her poems at the meeting of the Union of Translators of Russia. RosNOU’s website reporter interviewed Anastasia.
Anastasia, what poems did you present at the meeting of the Union of Translators?
I presented my poems in Russian and my translation of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” that I like so much.
What do you write poems about?
I find inspiration in many things but the main topics are nature, emotions, and feelings.
What languages are you learning?
My first foreign language is English and Spanish is my second foreign language. I’ve been learning Spanish for about a year already.
Why did you choose Spanish as your second foreign language?
I like this language a lot. Plus, many people speak this language so I think it is a career-oriented choice.
Are you planning to devote your life to translation?
I really want to become a professional translator. I enjoy translating poetry and I hope I will be engaged in literary translation.
What language would you like to work with?
I want my future career to be connected with both Spanish and English. Perhaps, I will learn other languages as I like many European languages.
What is the most difficult for you in studies?
The most difficult part is to make oneself do something, to overcome laziness.
All RosNOU students have heard that the students majoring in Linguistics and Translation have enormous home assignments. How do you cope with them?
When I remember the volume of homework that the students learning Chinese have to deal with, I immediately feel better. I don’t have problem with coping with my home assignments.
Evidently not, once you’ve coped with the laziness. Works of what foreign authors have you already tried translating?
I’ve tried translating Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, and it was quite a challenge. When I finished the translation, I immediately brought it to my professor and she made suggestions on how to improve it. The final version of translation really pleased us both.
What is more difficult for you – translation or interpretation?
At the moment, interpretation is more difficult for me as I don’t have much experience. But I think I will gain it in the future.
Were you already planning to go to the sphere of translation when you were at school?
Absolutely. I didn’t even have any ideas on where else I could go as I always enjoyed learning languages.
Why did you choose the Russian New University?
Apart from RosNOU, I also considered Moscow State Linguistic University. I got admission there in the second wave but I chose RosNOU because there were no problems with accommodation (I am from Blagoveshchensk city). Besides, the document submission procedure was much easier at RosNOU, so we decided to go for the safest option and I haven’t regretted it for a single moment as I love studying here.
What is your favourite subject?
Phonetics. Though the discipline itself presents many challenges, it gave me the largest amount of useful and applicable knowledge which I’d lacked before.
I enjoy speaking. When I start speaking in English, it’s almost impossible to stop me although I am not that talkative when I speak Russian. Sometimes, during a conversation, I forget some or other word in English but I always easily find its synonym.
Would you like to write a scientific article on linguistics or philology?
I’ve already started writing a scientific article on translations of Boris Pasternak into English. I want to examine how different translators translated his works and conveyed his thoughts and ideas.
What would you wish to prospective students who are planning to study to become a translator?
You need to be genuinely keen on translation. If you love the language, choose translation without any fear. And, of course, I wish all prospective students good luck with their studies.
Interviewed by Elena Zhiludko