Andrey (azangru) wrote,

On March 28, there was posted (can’t think of a proper verb — not published or self-published, really; just saved into a Google Doc, with a link tossed into the social media) a Russian translation of an information sheet for general public about COVID-19.

The only remarkable thing about that translation was that the translator, faithful to the domesticating approach practiced in the publishing house that he had once headed, reconstructed the name of the disease from the Russian constituent words — КОВИЗ-19 rather than КОВИД (I am a bit surprised he didn’t go all the way to КоВиЗ).

Of course this attempt, cute though it may be, was a single drop in the ocean. The overwhelming majority of official Russian texts doesn’t even bother with cyrillics; while unofficial texts simply transliterate the name.

I remembered this little fact by association when I thought about how differently the names for HIV and AIDS were assimilated into Russian. And I also remembered my long puzzlement with the name of the paper Спид-инфо, which I couldn’t imagine anyone willingly choosing due to its strongest association with AIDS. I hadn’t even realized that the paper was not in fact an info bulletin on AIDS and that its name was the transliteration of speed until several years into the circulation of the paper.

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