Soviet military translators Keywords:. Tanzania (Zanzibar), Egypt, Yemen
Memories of military translators are presented by Oleg Teterin, First Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Asia and Africa Today magazine.
This and future issues of the magazine offer readers the memories of people who have worked as military translators in different parts of the world: in Tanzania (including the island part of the country - Zanzibar), Egypt, Mali, Afghanistan and Angola. All of them were young people, usually students or just finished the course of study - graduates of Moscow universities who studied Eastern and African languages.
Among them was me , a fifth-year student at the Institute of Oriental Languages at Moscow State University (since 1972, the Institute of Asian and African Countries-ISAA MSU), who knew Swahili and English quite well by that time.
"MILITARY SPECIALTY" OF TRANSLATORS
All of us dreamed of visiting the countries that we studied at universities, to plunge headlong into the language environment, to get acquainted with local traditions and customs. Often, working as a military translator was the only opportunity for us to realize this dream.
Of course, our military also had their own full-time translators, who were trained in VIYAk (as the Military Institute of Foreign Languages under the USSR Ministry of Defense was then called). But the scale of cooperation between the Soviet Union and the "third world" countries, including in the military sphere, was constantly growing, and the Ministry of Defense lacked its own translators with knowledge of rare languages (which was Swahili, the first of many African languages, which was taught in the USSR in the IVY at Moscow State University back in 1960).. And the military began to invite us to work as well...
I remember how excited I was about going on my first business trip to Zanzibar. It was June 1965. With my classmate Volodya Ovchinnikov, we crossed half the world. We flew for two days-first on the IL-18 to Cairo (then th ... Read more