Translating gender in a Russian birth certificate
Thread poster: Babelinguist

Babelinguist
United States
Local time: 06:55
English to Japanese
+ ...
Dec 17, 2006

Hello all! I am a translator based in Virginia, USA. My client is applying for his son's passport and needs to have his birth certificate translated. I do not translate Russian so I found a good Russian linguist locally. The original birth certificate actually comes with an English translation done in Russia but my client has to have a US-based translator translate the document. So, he came to me for help. According to the Russian translator I asked, there is one problem, which is the mentioning of the sex of the person in the prepared translation which is not included in the original birth certificate. Those who are reading this post should know that the gender is clearly indicated by the formation of the patronymic and no specific mentioning of gender is necessary if you speak Russian. Therefore, the original Russian birth certificate does not mention "sex: male/female" while the English translation attached does in a way a normal English speaker would be accustomed to. If there is any Russian translator here translates Russian birth certificates into English, please let me know of your opinion whether I should keep this gender information spelled out like it is now, or remove it so that the translation is "true and accurate." I would like to know what is the customary and accepted way to handle this issue here in the US.

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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:55
English to Russian
+ ...
you should follow the document Dec 17, 2006

I mean render the name and other information as close to the original as you can. It is not about what the English speaker is accustomed to, but about what the document says (or reads). You are free to provide any notes as an attachment, but nobody needs it actually (i mean the official bodies do not need it).

I am doing document translations for years; including Government of Canada bodies (I covered their needs through 2004); sometimes I provide certified translations for US residents applying to INS and alike and there no problem ever so far.
You are welcome to ask me privately for more (more specific) explanations / assistance - I will try to help.

Truly,
V.


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Vitali Stanisheuski  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 13:55
Member (2005)
English to Belarusian
+ ...
In some Russian personal documents ... Dec 17, 2006

In some Russian personal documents (including birth certificates), there is "гражданин" (literally "citizen", to be more specific "male citizen" because of grammatical gender of this Russian word) and "гражданка" ("female citizen") before the name of the person.
Sometimes one of these words was underlined to show the sex of the person, but in the most cases not.
Sometimes there was abbreviation "Гр.", which did not show if it was male or female und could refer to both.

When I translated such documents into English, I thought, that it is not the fact of citizenship that is pointed out by words "гражданин"/"гражданка" but it is 1) form of address 2) way to indicate sex (in the cases where distinction was expressly made between "гражданин" and "гражданка"). In the view of these two conciderations, I translated "Mr" or "Ms".

If there is "гражданин" or "гражданка" or "гр." in the birth certificate mentioned (may be already translated "citizen"), you could translate this word according to the proper sex of the person - "Mr" or "Ms". [Edited at 2006-12-17 09:11]

[Edited at 2006-12-17 10:29]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:55
Member (2008)
Russian to English
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Follow the document Dec 18, 2006

In any given birth certificate, there is some information left out. For example, my own birth certificate does not mention that my mother was a woman (although it does mention that she gave birth to me). If at some future time this becomes an issue, I'd probably have to bring in some expert to point out that men did not give birth to children in the 1950's. But usually, if I needed a translation of my birth certificate, the translation would leave out this information.

If the issue of whether the offspring is male or female becomes an important one, you (or the translator you've hired) can make a statement along the lines of "it doesn't explicitly say, but there are some indications that this offspring is male." But I'd recommend letting your client's "client" ask for that. You don't want to get accused of arbitrarily adding information to the document.


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Ekaterina Khovanovitch  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:55
Member (2005)
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
Пол не указан. Dec 18, 2006

В российских свидетельствах о рождении никакого указания на пол нет. В новейших образцах нет даже слов гражданин/гражданка.
Мне это тоже кажется странным, но нельзя же переводить то, чего нет.


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:55
English to Russian
+ ...
there is one solution Dec 18, 2006

Estonians translate such documents and specify a patronimic in the following manner:

Tumanov Sergei, son of Viktor
or
.... daughter of Ivan

[Edited at 2006-12-18 10:51]


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:55
English to Russian
+ ...
а отчего странно Dec 19, 2006

я вот подумал - а какая разница, какого пола тот или иной человек (в контексте свидетельства о рождении)?
Где и когда человек родился - указано; кто родители - указано. Ну и все.
Изменение этих данных может иметь критическое значение, а, скажем, изменение пола при сохранении остальных указанных параметров критической роли ведь не играет)

Ekaterina Khovanovitch wrote:

В российских свидетельствах о рождении никакого указания на пол нет. В новейших образцах нет даже слов гражданин/гражданка.
Мне это тоже кажется странным, но нельзя же переводить то, чего нет.


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