Case studies



Strathfield Home for the Aged, Sydney

We were approached by the manager of this institution regarding translation of numerous materials into a LOTE. She found our business (which, at the time, had a different name) in the Yellow Pages. We gave her a quote over the phone, and described our services and credentials (including the top level NAATI accreditation). She was impressed and said that we were even cheaper than several other language companies she had contacted who employed translators with a lower level of NAATI accreditation.

We made an appointment to come to her office to discuss the final terms and conditions. After the talks held on the following day, she said she would recommend our business at the Board of Directors meeting to be conducted shortly. The Board of Directors chose us as the exclusive provider of translation services. We signed a contact and provided timely and quality translation services to the client over a period of several months. We translated such documents as conditions of admission to the Home, rules of conduct, public liability, description of the Home’s facilities, various forms and fliers. We also formatted the texts in accordance with the client’s needs. At their request, we organised interpreting services for an information session held for the tenants.

Throughout our co-operation with the Home, we maintained phone and face-to-face contacts with the relevant staff of the establishment.

Warm words of gratitude together with timely and accurate payments from the Home were our reward.

Hilton web-site

A client approached us regarding translation into a LOTE (language other than English) of a Hilton hotel web-site.

We gave them a quote which they accepted, and we started work. This very challenging and large project, which contained a lot of specialised terminology and expressive language, was completed on time. Then the client wanted us to change the format of the final text. Again, a quote was given to the client and was accepted. On the following day, they got the final version from us. Then the copy was transferred onto the web-site, and our translator proofread the text free of charge for the client, as a matter of courtesy.

Throughout the process we maintained contact with the client both by e-mail and telephone.

Here is what the client said to us:
“Thank you very much for the new file and invoice. It looks great and [is] helpful…”
“Thank you very much for the swift and accurate checking.”

Shortly after that, the client offered us other interesting and challenging jobs, including translation of Hilton promotional brochures and flyers. They were also completed to the client’s satisfaction.

Interpreting for President Mikhail Gorbachev

Earth Dialogues, Brisbane, July 2006

A brief memoir by Vadim Doubine, Managing Director of Azbuka Language Service

Gorbachev arrived in Australia with his personal interpreter of 21 years, Pavel Pavlazhchenko. I was hired through a reputable Sydney company by the Australian government for the Australian side, primarily for the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie. Additionally, on a number of occasions, I personally worked for President Gorbachev.

Gorbachev came to Brisbane in his capacity of CEO of Green Cross International (Gorbachev’s ecological foundation), and of a Nobel Peace Laureate. He does not understand or speak English, as he himself stated. His two languages, again according to himself, are Russian and Ukrainian. His father was Russian and his mother was Ukrainian, and he grew up in the Stavropol region of Russia, in the area bordering the Caucasus. His speech has always had a pronounced southern accent, and nothing could erase it, even his law studies at the Moscow State University at a rather young age. It is a strong linguistic marker that, perhaps, had the political advantage of making him appear a people’s man, who didn’t have the “snobby” Moscow accent (similar to Oxford English).

In Brisbane, President Gorbachev spoke at the Earth Dialogues international conference with huge success, held talks with the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, the Deputy Premier, Anna Bligh, and Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman, and gave media interviews, including for ABC, SBS and TV Channel 9.

Before the assignment, I did extensive research, and prepared myself for any unexpected or challenging situations. This was achieved by various means, including: accessing the Earth Dialogues website; familiarising myself with President Gorbachev’s, Premier Beattie’s and the main participants’ (particularly Nobel Peace Laureates’) biographies; doing research on Green Cross International (GCI) as well as obtaining relevant statistics about Australia, Russia, Queensland, Stavropol and Brisbane. It all helped.

Gorbachev and his entourage were friendly and approachable. Even their bodyguards were friendly, polite and well mannered.

Gorbachev definitely knows his place in history, and was always the centre of attention. But his manner was always natural and good humored.

I believe that all good T&I (translation and interpreting) practitioners, be it those who work at the community level or at the conference level, are subjected to very high stress levels. The work is not “a piece of cake” and consequently, we learn, with time and experience, to control stress and avoid “burn out”.

Having done the research, I was prepared when fate presented me with an unusual event involving President Gorbachev and his entourage. It started when we were waiting for some 30 minutes in a room adjacent to the Lord Mayor’s office whilst the Australian dignitaries finished their business elsewhere. There was a big table in the room with Aboriginal objects, including a didgeridoo, spears and boomerangs. They asked me some questions about Australia, Aboriginals, as well as my own background, touching on the subject of my teaching and research at the Russian Peoples’ Friendship University. It so happened that President Gorbachev was quite familiar with this University. Continuing my explanation about Aboriginal arts and crafts, I called upon my previous experiences regarding the subject, so I passed a spear and a big boomerang on to them, and demonstrated the position in which you throw them. Gorbachev got excited, and asked questions.

From further conversation, it became apparent that they were going to the Cairns region for a holiday, and so, as a Cairns resident and being well familiar with the area, I explained the main attractions there- the Great Barrier Reef, and ancient rainforest (in particular a Kuranda tour, which includes a visit to an Aboriginal Cultural Park).

Finally, I would like to refer to an opinion expressed by a high profile interpreter who said in his book that in order to be successful in our profession and enjoy it, you must “love the word”. This natural and necessary love for the word is also my driving force.

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