Reading all the signs, hard & soft


Finding the Right Translator for You

Finding the ideal freelance translator for your book, article or website project can be a real challenge. Who should you trust to bring your precious material to life in another language? Translators usually advertise their services according to rate, years of experience and specialised area. That’s a good start, but it does not tell you anything about their actual work process or how the final text is arrived at. I don’t expect you to click a button, send off your text and simply hope for the best. If your materials took weeks, months, or even years to produce, I won’t assume to produce an equivalent in translation overnight. I value every project that comes to the studio and prioritise communication with the client throughout the translation process. Here’s six reasons to entrust the translation of your material to Altai Pilgrim Studio.

Confident client

I believe that really excellent results are achieved when the translator is as committed to the client as they are to the text. The more I can glean about my client’s vision and desired outcomes, the more informed are the decisions I can make in the translation process. I want my clients to feel as confident about the quality of the translation as they do about their original materials. This is what my clients say about Altai Pilgrim Translation Services.

Research: Leaving no stone unturned

In a recent translation about one of the jewels of Russian cuisine, ‘ukha’ (fish soup), I came across 19 different varieties of fish. The dictionary gave at least 2 or 3 options for the translation of each one. Not to be intimated by a multitude of fins, I researched the world habitat of fish in order to select the appropriate option in each case that applied to Siberia’s rivers. What was the alternative? A bowl of fish soup with a missing ingredient? Never!

Translation transparency

Uploading text to the cloud gives clients the opportunity to review and comment on work in progress. Changes can be made in real time which saves sending files back and forth via email which can be confusing and time-consuming. With access to statistic reports that track time and project progress, clients know exactly where their money is being spent. See an example workflow for a book project

Different levels of service

Altai Pilgrim offers 3 levels of translation service: basic ‘accurate but quick and cheap’ suitable for larger volumes and text not intended for publication; premium ‘polished & affordable’ service for translation projects that are intended for publication; ‘transcreation’ for creative and marketing projects that might involve adaptation to suit a particular audience. If you are interested in editing services or translation for an ongoing advertising strategy across social media with a convenient 1-monthly invoice please follow the link   ›  Rates & services

Reads like an original

In Russian to English translation, there is an art to producing a text that reads like an original. The craft lies in avoiding Russian phrasing and long strings of nouns that sound very strange in English. It is not really a matter of substituting words so much as solving puzzles. The trick is to stop translating and ask oneself: what is the essential meaning and how would that be expressed if originally spoken by an English person. This is surprisingly hard to do. It is like riding a bike and having the confidence to let go of the handlebars. My clients reckon I’m a pretty confident cyclist.

Cultural immersion

Altai Pilgrim Studio specialises in the areas of philosophy, spirituality, ethnography and archaeology. As a translator I have specific knowledge of the history and cultures of Siberia, the Altai Republic and the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion in particular. You can find information about my background of cultural immersion on the About page and view Altai Pilgrim cultural translation projects in the Portfolio.


AP Russian translation London
Magazine | Hidden Siberia
Book | Spirituality ‘Akiva And Rachel’ by Gertcel Davydov
Book | shamanism

Book translation project by professional Russian to English translator Joanna Dobson. Last of the Shor Shamans by A & L Arbachakov includes research, interviews and text of shamanic journeying ritual related to the Shor people and available in English for the first time.

Book | Indigenous spirituality

Book translation project by professional Russian to English translator, Joanna Dobson. Russian original 'Altai Bilik' by N.Shodoev, Ust Kan, Altai Republic

In the client's own words


About Joanna

After spending 10 years working as a translator in Novosibirsk and the Altai Republic, Siberia I am now based on the beautiful north Norfolk coast of England where I offer translation and editing services. My focus is on helping English and Russian speaking authors, creatives and startups get their message across to a world-wide audience with confidence, precision and punch.

Joanna Dobson
Travel, translation, transformation