Eventually you will need to use Russian translations if you pursue Russian women who do not know English. This will be the case whether you are following the correspondence approach or the tour approach. And navigating the translation challenges wisely removes many avenues for Russian scammers.
First I will tell you the all important translation trap to AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE... "Letter Forwarding Services". If you are communicating with women that you met through an agency or an agency network, you usually have the option of using their agency's "Letter Forwarding Services".
Different agencies and networks have their own brand name for this Russian translations service, but basically the way it works is that you go to the girl's profile on their website, click the "Send Me a Message" button (labeling will differ from site to site), paste your message into a text box, and click "Send". The agency gets the message, translates it if necessary, prints it out, and calls the girl to ask her to come pick it up.
The options vary... sometimes you pay one flat price which includes Russian translations and the women's replies, sometimes these are extra.
As useful and efficient as this service could be if you could always trust those offering it, MANY agencies engage in letter forwarding fraud and gift fraud
. In this kind of fraud, you correspond with a Russian girl through this service, paying between $8-$20 for each letter each way, but the agency is really the one corresponding with you. The girl has never heard of you, or she may really be the one writing you, but the agency is sharing the revenue with her in exchange for her keeping the letters coming.
Fortunately there is an easy way around it: Bypass the agency translators. For short and/or unimportant messages you can just use Google Translate
. It's easy, free, and instantaneous. But software translations are fairly "clunky" and should NOT be trusted very much, especially in the beginning correspondence or in cases where accuracy is especially important.
For cases where you need good, reliable translations there's only one option: Hire your own translator who doesn't know the girl or the agency
, and only communicate with women with whom you can communicate directly.
Basically you email the translator the English text you want translated and she (most of them are women) emails you the Russian translation. If you receive an email in Russian from your woman, you paste that into an email to the translator, she translates it and returns it. Or you could paste it into Google Translate
and only if the resulting translation is wierd or confusing would you want to send it to your translator.
Your translator doesn't know the women you are writing, and really doesn't even have any way to find out who they are unless you include some identifying details in your messages. So they don't really have any way to use any of the slippery tactics that agencies use, even if they wanted to (which I suspect most would not).
As for Russian translations by phone, most translators can do that too (also in a way where the translator doesn't even need to know the contact details of the girl you are calling). I'm sure different translators have different policies, but basically you initiate a three-way call, first to your translator, then you patch in your Russian woman friend, and chat away. Obviously this could involve some international long distance toll depending on your phone company.
But the fact is that now many people in Russia/Ukraine have access to Skype , and that means FREE international long distance calls. Actually, for Skype-to-Skype calls (both parties have Skype) you even get free video chat such that you can see your women face to face. And Skype now supports video conferencing such that more than two people can speak on video at the same time. At least one party must have a "Premium" membership, but the cost is more than worthwhile ($10/month as of January 2014). So you just have a three-way call between your girl, your translator, and you.
Russian Translations "In Person"
As I understand it, a "translator" is someone who converts written communication from one language to another, and an "interpreter" is someone who translates live voice communication. But most translators/interpreters perform both services, so often the terms are used relatively interchangeably.
So if you travel to meet Russian and/or Ukrainian women who do not speak English you will need to use a "Russian interpreter".
If you are going on a typical "individual tour" the simplest approach to this is to just use whatever Russian translation option they assign you for your translated dates and pay the hourly rate. And if you are working with a really good agency that you really trust, that's the simplest route.
But when you do that you open yourself up to several significant problems.
First, you open yourself up to the possibility of getting stuck with a bad Russian translator/interpreter. Having been there a few times and used many different interpreters, I have made enough observations to be able to say that there is a WIDE range of quality among them.
Any professional in Russian translations can basically convert English sentences to Russian and vice versa, but some need to stop you frequently and ask for clarification, some cannot translate humor to save their lives, and some just don't seem to give a crap about their job. And if you're dealing with an agency translator, chances are good that she knows your date and will end up spending some of your time chit-chatting with her "offline" (in Russian).
But other Russian translation professionals are awesome, and they understand you perfectly, they even translate humor, they seem to like what they do, and some even go the extra mile to actually attempt to facilitate your dates and help them go better.
Second, if you are not really confident in the agency, or if you are just unsure about them, you open yourself up to the risk of being SCAMMED! Just as
written translations have scams described elsewhere, scams are common with live Russian translations as well. How so, you ask? Well, just as with the written scams, many agencies recruit HOT Russian women to their site who either do not speak English or who PRETEND to not speak English so that a Russian interpreter is required. Of course the agency provides the interpreter at an additional cost.
Well, as I say, if you are going on a tour with an agency you trust, just use their Russian translations professional. AND, if/when you find a GOOD Russian interpreter in such an agency, request her every time, AND GIVE HER A BIG TIP! You want to reward the good ones.
But if you don't know whether to trust the agency, or if you are there more on your own "tour", one solution is to simply bring your own Russian interpreter! You can shop online for independent local interpreters who don't work directly with the agencies, and maybe don't even usually deal with translating dates. Or, at Finding a Russian Interpreter you can find a list of translators/interpreters that I personally know and recommend.
But even if you find interpreters/guides that you don't know or that I don't list, you still immediately remove some risk of scams simply by virtue of the fact that (s)he (most interpreters will be women) doesn't know the girls or the agencies. And if you can get some good feel for her honesty, you reduce risk even more.
A Word About Software Russian Translations
You may wonder if written translation would be easier and cheaper using a simple software package. Yes, free, mostly-accurate software translators are available, like Google Translate (which is also available as an Android/iPhone app that you MUST HAVE when you travel!).
KEEP IN MIND, though, that language software has some serious limitations! Basically, the resulting Russian translations are maybe only 60% to 80% accurate, which leaves a LOT of room for misunderstandings. But they are good enough for three contexts:
1) When you receive an email in Russian, you can paste it into your software translator to see if you can mostly understand it. If not, then you can call in the pro.
2) You can check the work of your professional translations. So when you send an English message to your translator and she returns the Russian version, you can plug that into your software to confirm she didn't miss anything.
3) You can use it relatively safely for short, unimportant messages, especially if you and your girl have become fairly comfortable with each other such that misunderstandings are less likely.
But here is an iron clad rule regarding software translations: DO NOT RELY ON THEM FOR LONG OR IMPORTANT MESSAGES.