Happy belated New Year! The holiday pressure is off and I’m trying to get back into writing. My Ukrainian girlfriend and I recently became engaged over the New Year holiday. We’ve been together for almost a year and we were sharing memories of our first meeting. She also wanted to tell me so many things about what she was feeling but her English isn’t good enough to do so. It made me think of translators.
My fiancé and I never used or hired one. She mastered enough basic English that our conversations flowed reasonably well. If we needed to express something complicated the google translate app worked reasonably well. I think we both knew that the this is the nature of international relationships–you don’t know each other’s languages very well. So you enter them already prepared for this fact.
My experience with translators was with the Mordinson Marriage Agency in Kharkov. Michael Mordinson, the owner, is very fluent in Russian and Ukrainian and was very helpful with translating letters and conversations during my first meetings with the girls at his agency. He would only translate for our first date and leave us alone for our second dates and so on. However, if the girls knew at least a little bit of English, he would leave us to ourselves at our first meeting.
Personally, I like Michael’s philosophy. Translators should just be used to facilitate meetings. Having a translator around constantly will make things awkward if you and your girl like each other enough to progress to multiple dates and then something more. You also don’t want to talk about anything too personal with a translator so it can end up stalling a budding relationship. At one point, you and your girl will have to learn how to communicate. The sooner that happens, the better.
You also want to learn how your girl copes with adversity. If she can’t speak or understand, does she get frustrated? Angry? Does she take it out on you? Or is does she go with the flow and try and figure it out with you? Is she patient? This can tell you a lot about a girl’s temperament and how well she can adjust if she moves abroad to be with you. This is good information to have when you decide on which girl to be with. In my experience, if a Russian girl likes you, she will try to communicate with you, so don’t get talked into relying a translator too much.