Russian: Specialist translation & simultaneous interpreting into and from Russian

AP Fachübersetzungen offers its clients high-quality translation and interpreting services from and into the Russian language. Our friendly, committed and competent team of interpreters, translators, editors, proofreaders and project managers specializes in translations and interpreting projects in the areas of medicine, pharmacy, law and technology and is happy to support you. The language experts of our translation agency love languages and practise their profession with passion. At the same time, they have an eye for detail, but never lose sight of the big picture - the context of the text to be translated. Certified Russian translations are not a problem for our qualified and experienced specialist Russian translators. We are also happy to help you with time-sensitive projects.

Interesting facts about Russian

Did you know that ...

  • ...Russian is also used in space as an international language of communication? For example, instructions in emergency situations are still given in Russian, which is why the training to become an astronaut includes a stay in Moscow to learn the language.
  • ...there are only about 200 thousand words in Russian? For comparison: English comprises around 1 million words. This is one reason why Russian is considered a particularly difficult foreign language among non-native speakers. The language is highly complex due to the ambiguity of individual words.
  • ...Russian native speakers can better distinguish between different shades of blue than English speakers? This is because there are more colour gradations in Russian, ergo different words for different shades of blue, than in English. This shows how much language influences our reality and perception.
  • ...the literal meaning of the Russian word for "German" is "those who cannot speak"? The term developed from the Russian word "немецкий" (nemetski) (=dumb, "inarticulate") and originally referred to all foreigners who did not speak Russian. At that time, these were mainly Germans.

World language Russian: The spread of the Russian language

With over 160 million native speakers, Russian is one of the 12 most spoken languages worldwide, along with English, Chinese and Spanish: Here Russian ranks number 7, directly behind Arabic and before Portuguese.

Where is Russian spoken as a native language?

The majority of the Russian-speaking population, namely about 130 million, lives in Russia itself. In addition, Russian is also spoken in the CIS countries and the Baltic states (approx. 26.4 million) as well as in countries with high immigration rates from the states of the former Soviet Union, such as in Germany, the USA or Israel (another 7.4 million). According to this, it is even the language with the most native speakers in Europe, even before German. In Finland, Russian is also the largest minority language: 49,000 people there speak Russian. This corresponds to about 1% of the Finnish population.

Russian speakers in Germany

Russian is the second most spoken language in Germany, even before Turkish. It is estimated that about 2-3 million Russian speakers are currently living in Germany. According to the Russian foreign ministry, there are even about 6 million Russian speakers, including those who have learned Russian only as a foreign language. Most of them (2.4 million) are so-called ethnic German resettlers. These are people who have immigrated to Germany from a former Soviet state in the past 30 years. However, migration researchers point out that the native language of a person can only be determined to a limited extent due to the migratory background.

Russian as official language and language of communication

Russian is not only an official language in Russia, but also in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Apart from that, it is a common lingua franca in many states of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). Russian is also a common language in the arts, technology and science. It is not without reason that over a quarter of the scientific literature available worldwide is written in Russian.

History of the Russian language

Today's Russian language has its origins in Old Russian, which is also referred to as the Old East Slavic language. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, Old East Slavic split into (East) Russian and Ruthenian (West Russian). During its development, the Russian language was heavily influenced by Church Slavic, the language of the orthodox church of the Russian Federation, and consequently has a lot in common, even today, with South Slavic languages such as Bulgarian or Slovenian.

Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which was developed in the 10th century AD in the territory of modern Bulgaria. Cyrillic is the writing system for many countries in Eastern Europe. It was implemented in several Eastern European languages during the spread of Christianity in the 10th century.

Vocabulary of the Russian language

Russian belongs to the Indo-European language family and is part of the Slavic subgroup. Linguistically, the Russian language is most closely related to two other Eastern Slavic languages: Ukrainian and Belarusian. Structurally, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian are quite similar, but the system of speech sounds (vowels and consonants) differs in the three languages. The Ukrainian vocabulary also contains Polish influences: The word "час" means "time" in Ukrainian and Polish, and not "hour" as in Russian. "Godzina" in Polish and "година" in Ukrainian mean "hour".

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the vocabulary of the Russian language began to change. This social change brought many English words into the Russian language, especially from the technical field, such as "компьютер" (computer), "сканер" (scanner) or "интернет" (Internet). Some German words have also been adopted into Russian, such as "бутерброд" ("Butterbrot", buttered bread), "парикмахер" ("Friseur", hairdresser) or "брандмауэр" ("Firewall").

Tricky stumbling blocks when translating and interpreting from and into Russian

When transferring linguistic content from the source language into the target language, all translators and interpreters at some point encounter words that look or sound the same or similar in both languages, but whose meanings are completely different. In such cases, linguists must pay particular attention to rendering of the content of the respective word correctly in the target language and must not be blinded by the appearance of the words. This applies in particular to the language pairs German-Russian and English-Russian. For example, the Russian word "ветер" does not mean "Wetter" (weather) but "wind"; "проспект" does not mean "Prospekt" (brochure) but "Allee" (avenue); and a "машина" is not a machine but a car. An English native speaker might immediately think of a magazine when seeing the Russian word "магазин", but it means "business", while "журнал" is the correct Russian translation for "magazine". Similarly, in Russian "артист" means an actor and not an artist, as the English word "artist" might suggest. And if, based on the English word "novel", you ask for a "новелла" in a Russian bookshop, you will be surprised by how short the book is, because "новелла" means "short story" or "short narrative" as opposed to "роман" (novel).

It goes without saying that our professional and experienced translators and simultaneous interpreters for German, English and Russian from AP Fachübersetzungen never fall into these or similar language traps, because all our language experts are highly trained linguists. They have a solid academy or university education in their language combinations and subject areas, translate only into their native language(s) and are well aware of the differences in meaning between deceptive words that look or sound the same. In addition, our specialist translations are thoroughly checked by another native-speaking proofreader or editor with regard to content, language and style according to the so-called dual control system to guarantee a translation of impeccable quality! In special cases, we also consult experts and specialists in the respective fields (e.g. lawyers for legal translations and doctors for medical translations) to ensure the linguistic and content-related accuracy of the technical terminology used in the translated text.

Why are translation and interpreting projects for Russian so much in demand?

Unfortunately, in many Western and Central European countries there are still persistent clichés about Russia and its culture, mainly due to the very cold climate, the long distance and the dangerous brown bears. The Russian language is also considered difficult to learn, which is why English, Spanish and French are more popular foreign languages for Germans than Russian, for example. However, Russian culture, which non-Russians are mostly not familiar with, also has a certain fascination for the reasons mentioned below.

Since the end of the 1990s, Russia has become increasingly important for the world economy, e.g. for the German tourism industry and international diplomatic exchange in organizations such as the European Council and the WTO. Companies are also increasingly establishing contact with Russian business partners and hiring foreign-language correspondence assistants for the Russian language for written and verbal communication. Since the managing directors of Russian companies often do not understand English or only understand very little English, professional specialist translators and simultaneous interpreters are often needed on special occasions to avoid language barriers.

Yet communication problems can arise if you do not consult a competent specialist Russian interpreter or translator for language mediation. For challenging and complex specialist texts, in particular, it is very advisable to commission an experienced and qualified language expert with translating and interpreting. But finding this expert can cost a lot of time and energy and requires extensive research. This is where we come into play: AP Fachübersetzungen, the interpreting and translation agency known far beyond Nuremberg, employs several interpreters and translators for Russian. We also have an extensive network of competent and reliable specialist Russian interpreters in various cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to save you a lot of trouble and effort. We will find the right linguist for you and take care of all the necessary steps so can lean back and relax.

Smooth communication is a top priority, especially when dealing with authorities, at court proceedings, GMP inspections or other important appointments, and this largely depends on the expertise of the interpreter. In order to avoid unnecessary problems and misunderstandings, we at AP Fachübersetzungen exclusively employ competent Russian translators and interpreters who have many years of experience and impeccable references. Our strict quality management sets high standards and guarantees the excellent quality of our services. At AP Fachübersetzungen, your translation and interpreting projects are in the best hands. Whether you need a consecutive, trade fair, simultaneous, telephone, liaison or conference interpreter or a specialist translator, you can rely on our interpreting and translation agency in every regard.

What can our Nuremberg-based specialist translators and simultaneous interpreters learn from the history of the Russian language for our everyday professional life?

For 10 years, Russian has been one of the languages most in demand at our Nuremberg-based specialist translation and simultaneous interpreting agency AP Fachübersetzungen, also as a result of our in-house Russian department. Our professional and qualified specialist Russian translators and simultaneous interpreters, most of whom are publicly appointed and sworn, are trained linguists and are well versed in the development of the history of the Russian language, the lexical peculiarities of the Russian language and the fundamental differences between words in Russian and other Slavic languages. Our staff has already given several lectures on linguistic topics at the Institut für Fremdsprachen und Auslandskunde (IFA, Institute for Foreign Languages and Foreign Studies) in Erlangen and at the Munich Sprachen & Dolmetscher Institut (SDI, Institute for Languages & Interpreters). We have also given presentations on these topics: Everyday life of interpreters and specialist translators, the importance of training and qualifications, project and supplier management, and particular aspects in working with public authorities and corporate clients. We attach particular importance to our further training. That is why we regularly take part in the training courses, webinars, specialist events and symposia of the BDÜ (German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators), which is not only beneficial to us but also to our clients. Our specialist translators and simultaneous interpreters for Russian have been active members of the BDÜ for a long time, in order to maintain our business relations with colleagues and partners and further expand our broad network. Membership of the BDÜ also helps our Russian translation team to complete large translation and interpreting projects involving several specialist translators and interpreters. Moreover, all our Russian translators are native speakers and translate only into Russian, capturing the nuances of each written word and rendering them correctly in their native language. Only in this way can they guarantee a specialist translation of outstanding quality in terms of form and content!

The translation principle of Tsar Peter I of Russia – for today's translators and interpreters of timeless relevance

As early as 1709, the Russian Tsar Peter I formulated his "Tsar's Decree on Translation Theory", advocating analogous instead of literal translations. For him, the most important priority was that a translated text was comprehensible in the target language, which in today's translation science is known as a goal- or function-oriented translation. We at AP Fachübersetzungen have long been committed to this translation principle of Tsar Peter I of Russia. Because we ensure that the content of our specialist translations can be clearly understood by the target audience. This is an indispensable prerequisite for technical, medical, pharmaceutical and legal texts, as mistranslated content can have far-reaching consequences. To avoid this, it is of utmost importance to commission a specialized language service provider such as our Nuremberg translation agency.

Grammar of the Russian language – how do the language experts at AP Fachübersetzungen master it?

Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which comprises 33 letters.


Like most Slavic languages, the Russian language is notorious for being highly inflecting. Russian has three different genders and six different cases and further differentiates between animate and inanimate nouns, a distinction that does not exist in German.


Furthermore, proper names and numerals are declined in Russian, as they are in German. Despite the distinction between three genders, the Russian language does not have articles. Thus, when translating and interpreting from Russian into German, it must be determined via the context whether a noun is definite or indefinite.


But Russian verb conjugation probably presents the biggest challenge for specialist translators and interpreters. While verbs in German are only conjugated according to tense and number, they have to be inflected according to gender as well in the Russian past tense. Moreover, two different verb forms have to be distinguished depending on whether an action or an event is completed or uncompleted. This category is called aspect, and it does not exist in German either.


However, the tenses are easier. The German language has six tenses, whereas the Russian language only has three. Word order in Russian is also significantly less strict than in German. Thus, when a sentence is translated or interpreted from German into Russian, the Russian syntax allows the translator or interpreter to choose between several variations. German is sometimes even more complicated, since the verb is at the end of subordinate clauses. This presents simultaneous interpreters with special challenges: When they hear a long German subordinate clause that needs to be translated into Russian, they have to wait for the verb at the end of the subordinate clause before they can start interpreting. If it takes too long for the speaker to pronounce the verb, it is advisable for the simultaneous interpreters to guess the verb from the context so as not to miss too much text. If their guess turns out to be wrong, they can correct their statement shortly afterwards.


Due to the grammatical particularities of the Russian language, it is advisable to entrust the translation of your texts or interpretation of your presentations to a native speaker or very experienced language expert. At AP Fachübersetzungen, we therefore employ only highly qualified and experienced specialist Russian translators and interpreters. This way, we can ensure the high quality and accuracy of your specialist translation. With us, your interpreting and translation projects are in the best of hands.

Contact details of our Nuremberg specialist translation and simultaneous interpreting agency

Do you need a (certified) Russian translation? Do you want the translation to be done with great care and accuracy? Do you have an important appointment at a notary, court or authority, a seminar, audit, business meeting, conference, training, GMP inspection (pharmacy), civil wedding ceremony or another significant event and need a Russian interpreter you can absolutely rely on in every way? Do you need express service? Then AP Fachübersetzungen, the renowned Nuremberg interpreting and translation agency, is the right place for you. You can reach us at +49 (0)911– 650 08 650 or by email to You can, however, also pay a personal visit to our Nuremberg office with your interpreting or translation inquiry. We are at your disposal for an individual consultation and will be happy to take care of your inquiry.

AP Fachübersetzungen - reliable without exception!

Feel free to contact us! We process all requests immediately after their receipt. You will receive a quote within a short period of time.