So, what *is* the "right" translation of "reset"?
Thread poster: Terry Gilman

Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:02
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Mar 8, 2009

I read this report yesterday

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7930047.stm

Hillary Clinton gave Sergei Lavrov a mock "reset" button, symbolising US hopes to mend frayed ties with Moscow.
But he said the word the Americans chose, "peregruzka", meant "overloaded" or "overcharged", rather than "reset".

I'm just curious, don't speak Russian (sorry). Curious why the BBC reporter didn't include the "right" translation, which for my understanding of reporting would be a must. Makes me suspect that the one-word translation is more difficult than it might appear at first glance. An issue of dialect or of a lay vs. a technical term?

They succeeded in turning it into a opportunity for interaction and agreement, or at least that's the spin.
But even the transcript of the joint press conference doesn't give a "right" term, as far as I can tell.


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:02
Member (2007)
Russian to English
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pereZAgruzka Mar 8, 2009

Supposedly the correct translation would be "pereZAgruzka".

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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:02
Member (2007)
Russian to English
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Still... Mar 8, 2009

... in everyday life we often say "peregruzit' komp'yuter" (reset the PC) rather than "pereZAgruzit' komp'yuter" (which is actually correct)

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Alyona Douglas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:02
Member (2007)
English to Russian
- Mar 8, 2009

I personally always say "pereZAgruzit komputer"

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Oleg Delendyk
Ukraine
Local time: 18:02
English to Russian
+ ...
Nope Mar 8, 2009

Alexander Onishko wrote:

... in everyday life we often say "peregruzit' komp'yuter" (reset the PC) rather than "pereZAgruzit' komp'yuter" (which is actually correct)


I don't think that WE often say "peregruzit' komp'yuter".


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:02
Russian to English
+ ...
Verb or noun? Mar 8, 2009

I just googled "peregruzit'" and "peregruzagruzit'" with "komp'yuter." I got only two hits for "peregruzit'", vice 28 for "perezagruzit'".

But this discussion makes me wonder about the part of speech. Almost any English word can be a noun, a verb, or an adjective without changing form. That's not true for Russian. When you label a button "reset," what part of speech is that? Does it mean, "Push me and I'll reset things"; or does it mean, "I am a button and 'reset' is my name". In this case, I think we can eliminate noun as the applicable part of speech. I can't think of a "reset" as being a physical object.

In English, I don't have to decide. In Russian, I do. Personally, I would have labeled the button "perezagruzit'", rather than "perezagruzka." But then I'm not a native Russian speaker. What do you guys think?

Beyond that, I've been thinking about how this must have happened. I'm sure the State Department has a translation department, although my impression is that most interpreters at State Department functions are contractors. Assuming they do have a translation department, it must be staffed entirely with U.S. citizens, since a clearance would be required. While there might be a native Russian speaker or two on the staff, they would most likely be sons or daughters of immigrants, and would not have lived in Russia. Also, their translation experience would be limited almost entirely to subjects of interest to diplomats. I'm thinking technical discussions about computers would be pretty rare among the people they support.

So here's one likely scenario: Hillary wants to give a gift that gets her point across with a little bit of humor. Either she asks for the now infamous button by name, or she asks for suggestions from her staff. Somebody (Hillary or some other non-Russian speaker) comes up with the idea for a "reset button." The translation department is tasked to translate the label . . . and nobody knows what such a thing might be called. They look in dictionaries and find a large number of possibilities. Maybe -- just maybe -- somebody decides on "pereZAgruzka." They give the word to whoever is tasked to make up the button (who doesn't speak a word of any language but English) or, more likely, order the button from a contractor (who also speaks only English). Somewhere along the line, two letters get dropped, and nobody notices.

Or, quite possibly, the chief of the translation department gets the task, calls in his/her head Russian translator and says, "You'll never guess what they want now!" The head translator knows he or she has to look good to the boss, makes an educated guess . . . and just gets it wrong.


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Oleg Delendyk
Ukraine
Local time: 18:02
English to Russian
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Reset or... Mar 8, 2009

James McVay wrote:

I just googled "peregruzit'" and "peregruzagruzit'" with "komp'yuter." I got only two hits for "peregruzit'", vice 28 for "perezagruzit'".

But this discussion makes me wonder about the part of speech. Almost any English word can be a noun, a verb, or an adjective without changing form. That's not true for Russian. When you label a button "reset," what part of speech is that? Does it mean, "Push me and I'll reset things"; or does it mean, "I am a button and 'reset' is my name". In this case, I think we can eliminate noun as the applicable part of speech. I can't think of a "reset" as being a physical object.



I think that in this case it would be better to use "reboot" or "reload" than "reset".
Please see:

http://www.microsoft.com/language/ru/ru/search.mspx?sString=reboot&langID=ru-ru
http://www.microsoft.com/language/ru/ru/search.mspx?sString=reload&langID=ru-ru
http://www.microsoft.com/language/ru/ru/search.mspx?sString=reset&langID=ru-ru


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 18:02
Member (2004)
English to Ukrainian
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reset Mar 8, 2009

Terry Gilman wrote:
Makes me suspect that the one-word translation is more difficult than it might appear at first glance. An issue of dialect or of a lay vs. a technical term?


It might not be as easy as they probably had imagined, but "peregruzka" could not result from any such subtleties, or an accidental loss of two letters, as James suggested. No, it's just plain incompetence.

"Perezagruzka" is indeed the best I can think of, though it actually means "reload" or "reboot".

The word for "reset" as "set to the initial condition" is "sbros" (сброс). I wish they had put this word on the red button -- it would be much more fun -- because its primary meaning (without a proper context) is "discharge" or "dump".

To Oleg: "The gift was a light-hearted reference to US Vice-President Joe Biden's recent remark that the new US administration wanted to reset ties with Russia after years of friction." -- Joe said "reset", so reset it must be.

To James: it should be a noun.


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Vitali Stanisheuski  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 18:02
Member (2005)
English to Belarusian
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another option Mar 9, 2009

Roman Bulkiewicz wrote:

The word for "reset" as "set to the initial condition" is "sbros" (сброс).


In this meaning, it is sometimes called обнуление (setting to zero) but such a translation would be quite ambiguous.


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