Saturday, 25 October 2008

Now I'm blogging in Russian, too!

To understand a bit of Italian, I just need a comparatively small amount of vino bianco. By contrast, to get any information flow going at all in Russian requires larger amounts of ... preparation. That doesn't have to be vodka, it can also be interesting discussions with Russians, or the opportunity to give a speech.

Now, a blog is the scalable way to interact with the rest of humanity, and I'm trying to increase my fluency in all things Web 2.0. So, here goes, may I present my Russian blog:

Like in the case of presenting my Italian blog, let me quote Google Translate’s automatic translation of some of my “writings” — deliberately doing so without making any improvements on the automatic translation:

Why this blog?

When I learned to read when I was five years old, I decided to learn the Cyrillic alphabet. This is not a normal thing to do in Finland at the time, but how was I supposed to know? A television program called "Good evening, 'and learn to read Russian, appears to be a smart career move for a five-year-old boy.

And I learned Russian alphabet. Nevertheless, I did not learn the Russian language.

Although I grew up in a neighboring country, the Soviet Union, it took until 1985 before I first went there. I went with two friends, and we stayed at the Hotel Europe. Incidentally, in Finland, Archbishop John Vikström was there at the same time.

Now it's time for me to learn Russian. In addition, I visit Russia more than once a year, so I decided to start a blog in Russian.

The purpose of my blog is to

  • learn more Russian

  • to learn more about Russia

  • be inspired to visit Russia more

I go to Russia for work and for pleasure, and I use blogs for both purposes.

Why not write a blog in Russian?
The fact that I do not speak English is not an excuse, not a blog in Russian.

I want to prove the point: these days, it is possible to create a blog in Russian, even if you do not speak Russian, but only pretends to do so.

I have occasionally tried to pick up a little Russian language for many years, but what makes this blog Google Translate. Usually, I write in Swedish, but unfortunately the Russian language has a high quality, starting with English. That is why I first write something in English. Next, I ask Google to translate my text in Russian. I look at the translation and make the first guess as to whether it is perhaps understandable. Finally, I ask Google to translate it back from Russian to English. If I can understand it, I finally publish my text.

Let's see where this experiment takes me!

Tags: gladness, friendship, contacts, Russian, Respect, language

Fandorin: Naming issues
How to choose the name " / fandorin /" to my blog?

Well, "blogs" should be easy and self explanatory.

And "arno" should also be fairly easy to understand: That's because my name Arnö, and people used 7-bit domain names (why I bought but not arnö.fi).

". Fi" part, of course, must be self-evident: I am from Finland. I grew up in Finland. I have always lived in Finland, except for 2002-04 (in Munich) and 2006 - the year (in Munich). Summary: I am a Finnish citizen, as all my ancestors over many generations [1].

"/ Fandorin" part deserves more explanation. I chose it because my closeness to Russian literature, particularly for my favorite characters Erast Petrovich Fandorin books Boris Akunin. I think I have read all of them (unfortunately, not in Russian, but also in German).

Alternative names for your blog could be "yevski", as I always joked that I wanted someone to write an operating system with the same name. Why? Because I could write a utility for converting files yevsky (and move them into DOS). The title of this utility will dostoyevski. However, as DOS virtually obsolete, I have concluded that there would be no market for these products.

[1] my father's father's father's father's father's father's father, Jakob Saktmodig of Dragsfjärd in Finland, was in line with the church books (1712) "rysk afföda", which I always interpreted as a "lower-quality Russian origin" (but handwriting in the book was bad)

Tags: Fandorin, Boris Akunin, Dostoevsky, Fandorin, Finland, Erast Petrovich Fandorin

Providing a presentation in Russian
Yesterday and today I had the opportunity to make a presentation in Russian. Colleagues of MySQL and Sun have helped me to translate from English to Russian what I wanted to say.

The presentation takes about six minutes to deliver, and I was very happy to get a lot of questions afterwards.

As I clearly do not speak Russian, it seems to be strange, the idea of simply reading aloud from the paper for six minutes. Let me explain why I think it was a good idea, but first let me paste the contents of my speech:
Dear users of MySQL, dear Sun customers and students of St. Petersburg University, Ladies and Gentlemen! Good evening! I am pleased to welcome you today at this meeting where we gather to celebrate and discuss the company's acquisition of MySQL by Sun Microsystems. I hope this meeting will give a better idea of what benefit each of you can draw from combining our companies. [...]

Now you may ask yourself: Why am I talking in English, when it is obvious that I can hardly even understand what I am talking about?

I tried to explain why I do it in my blog entry in / kaj /. Here are some central parts of it:

"Why" and "How to" make the presentation more local than this can be done in English

English as a language of communication greatly exaggerated. In the international context, English may be sufficient for the transfer of meaning, but it has serious drawbacks when it comes to creating social ties, showing respect, to build confidence and having fun.

In general, there is nothing wrong in English. This is a good language, just as many others. But just as in biology, monoculture causes many risks, and diversity is good. Let's celebrate it, let's enjoy it, and let us reap commercial benefits from it!

Tags: MySQL, Sun Microsystems, use, acquisition, Respect, Language

To my surprise, I got comments on my Russian blog even before announcing it. Thank you, karidola! You seem to share my interest in the Finland Swedish author Tove Jansson (she's the one with the Moomins that I found in Japan) and in the Icelandic language

For those of you who, unlike me, can read Russian faster than a five-year-old, I suggest you to take a look at these pages that I pretended to write, and for which I used no other help than what can be obtained through Wikipedia and Google Translate (specifically, I used no human / Russian help):

  • Почему именно этот блог?

  • Почему бы не писать блог на русском языке?

  • Предоставление презентации на русском языке

  • Fandorin: именования вопросы

As with the Italian blog, what I really am curious to know is, what my Russian speaking friends and colleagues will say. Anjuta? Sergei? Kostja (who looks like Fandorin on the book cover)? And Dima, Alik, Igor, Bar, Holyfoot, Gluh, Ramil, Vladislav, Kaamos, Sveta, Vita, Evgeniy, Sanja, Valerii, Timour, Lawrin, Peter, Arseniy, Kitry, Natalia, Natasha, Grisha, Elena, Dmitry, Ekaterina, Olga, Vladimir, Egor, (and I'm sure I've embarrassingly omitted several friends -- please forgive me), and last but definitely not least, Морж!


  1. Cool!
    Так держать!

  2. [...] vez, pedí Google Translate de traducir para mí Google Translate, como para mi blogs italiano y ruso. Esto hizo posible para mí a entregar una nota más personal, con cambios de última hora, pero [...]