I am not a professional translator; I am a computer guy. As a matter of fact I'd never translated literature before. But I happen to be fluent in both languages and it so happened that this story does not seem readily available in English. I wanted to show it to some people, and didn't feel like forking more of my hard earned cash to Amazon.com.
The experience was interesting... I decided that I would try to go through the story very quickly and refine things later. I am not sure if this is the most effective way of translating, in retrospect. I wound up making many, many passes "refining" and I wonder if I had gained anything timewise with this strategy.
The translation went surprisingly quickly. It is about twenty pages of text and it took me about 8 hours to get the whole text translated. The refining took a bit more time. I didn't have a dictionary, but for the most part, I don't think that hindered me. I did use BabelFish for some of the words, but it is a pretty lousy way to translate.
The problems of translation are well known but it was interesting experiencing them firsthand. The simplest category is words that just aren't directly parallel in languages. There is so much nuance in the usage of a word that sometimes it just cannot be translated while carrying over the same nuance, unless you want to provide a footnote. Then there are grammatical issues... Russian is a heavily inflected language, meaning that the endings of words specify their role in the sentence. Therefore, unlike English, it allows much greater freedom of moving words around for various effects. For example, you can build tension by having a sentence where a whole bunch of stuff happens but you don't know who did what to whom until the very end. Lastly there is just a myriad of little differences which tend to add up. For example, "being silent" is an active verb in Russian.
Anyway, the translation is finished (although I am sure that to truly do a good job, I'd need to spend quite a few more hours refining and correcting it). It is time to present it to the audience.
It is interesting that the things that made me love this story are very different than the things that my wife picked up on (which I would have never caught on in a million years.) So, my readers, if you want to spend an extra half hour reading, without further ado, here is the translation