Former Russian Arabic military interpreters
Thread poster: shfranke

United States
Local time: 10:55
English to Arabic
+ ...
May 11, 2015

Greetings... privyet...

I am researching a historical article on post WW-II-era Soviet/Russian advisors and trainers of foreign military forces in Arabic-prevalent parts of the Middle East and Africa.

I am looking for bilinguals who had served earlier overseas as professional interpreters/linguists -- or military advisors/trainers who had received some Arabic language training -- with the "Group of Soviet Military Technical Specialists in (please indicate which host country) Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, or Jordan."

Also interested in the experiences and observations of those who had advised / dealt with Arabic-prevalent military personnel who attended professional military schools or technical training courses in the Former Soviet Union and/or East European countries.

Areas of interest include:

[1] How were those Soviet/Russian citizens with those acquired language skills (i.e. graduates of language institutes, universities, or Oriental Institutes of the ANSSSR) selected/assigned for such duty as linguists (I surmise a number of them were graduates with degrees in linguistics or Middle Eastern languages who were mobilized to perform their two years of compulsory military service after their graduation)?

[2] Where and how did those newly-militarized/drafted linguist receive additional bilingual training in military/technical subjects before they went to their overseas assignments?

[3] Where and how did non-linguist Soviet/Russian military officers -- i.e. an armor or artillery officer selected for overseas duty as an advisor -- receive any familiarization or job-related language training in Arabic? Same question about training for cross-cultural awareness, adaptation, and effectiveness?


I have watched and enjoyed the Russian TV series "Russki Perevod" (set in southern Yemen), and have read (slowly, due to my now-rusty literacy in Russian) the Russian-language memoirs of one now-retired military advisor.

Many thanks in advance for any responses and comment; all are welcome and appreciated.

For respondents who prefer and let me know, I would be pleased to regard and treat their responses as privileged and anonymous communications.

Ochen' spasibo.


Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California, USA

[Edited at 2015-05-11 22:13 GMT]

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Former Russian Arabic military interpreters

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