Russian Language

This page is for parents and older children. For resources to use with your children, look in the Bookstore in the Russian Language and Children's Language sections. There you will find books to teach your child English, Russian, and Russian/English dictionaries. For a page with a massive number of links, go to Super Russian Resources [external [link].

Online Machine Translators for Russian

The following links take you to online translator sites; it will open in a new window making it easier to paste in the web address to be translated: Promt link in new window, Babel Fish link in new window, World Lingo link in new window, Free Translation link in new window and TranslateToGo link in new window (free, but you must register to use it). These online translators can either translate web pages or text that you type in. In addition to these sites, Rustran link in new window, link in new window, Reverso link in new window and ImTranslator link in new window will also translate text online.

If you use any of the online translators to translate text, translate it back into English to double-check the translation; sometimes you aren't really saying what you want to and you need to change your wording to get the desired meaning. Do not use these online translators for any official paperwork, other than perhaps labeling pictures, as they are not that accurate. They don't handle idioms or slang well, so simplify what you are trying to say. In order for text translations to properly display, you will need a Cyrillic font installed on your computer; see the section below for help with this.

How to read Cyrillic on your computer

Russify Everything [external [link]: links to sources.
Russify Your Computer [external [link] for both macintosh and windows.
Russification of Macintosh [external [link]: fonts, scripts, keyboards, and applications.
Russian Editor [external [link]: windows notepad with on screen keyboard.

Resources for Adoptive Parents

Adopting from RussiaThe only Russian language guide written specifically for adoptive families is Adopting from Russia, a Language and Parenting Guide, by Teresa Kelleher. It consists of a 45-minute, professionally recorded CD and 67-page handbook (20 pages of language info; 40+ pages with tons of practical info). You order it directly from the author. See the order form for further details. Even though I adopted an infant, I wish I had gotten this tape to make more of an attempt at communicating while I was in Kazakhstan.

The EEAC web site has a free 19 page phrase book in Russian. To get a copy, send a blank e-mail to EEAC [e-mail link]; don't put anything in the subject line or in the body of the text box. You should receive the Word file back within a few minutes.

Russia-adoptive traveler vocabulary cardset [external [link] is a set of index cards with words and phrases written in English, Russian, and phonetically spelled.

FRUA [external [link]: simple Russian phrases - talking to children.

Words to Know [external [link] on a Ukraine adoption site; has distracting animated graphics and background music that you can't turn off.

Russian Phrases for Children [external [link] is similar to Adopting from Russia above; includes a CD and phrase book with Cyrillic, English, and phonetic spelling. They also sell a version for Bulgarian and Ukrainian.

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Online learning

  • Rosetta Stone [external [link] has online and CD language classes.
  • Russian [external [link] Interactive On-line Reference Grammer. This site includes The Russian Alphabet [external [link] which helps you to learn the Cyrillic alphabet.
  • An Introduction to Russian [external [link]: beginning point for casual learner, does not require fonts or software.
  • Master Russian [external [link]: basic to advanced, grammar lessons, useful vocabulary words and phrases.
  • RussNet [external [link] language modules.
  • Transparent Language [link in new window] offers a language overview, survival phrases online, and language products.
  • One Hundred Russian Signs [external [link]: pictures of signs with explanations. Fun to look at, and very pertinent for travelers.
  • Sentences [external [link] Windows program to teach sentences, 30 sets available for free download.
  • English-Russian Dictionary [external [link] HTML based version of a dictionary, Windows or Macintosh versions available for free download.
  • Dialogs [external [link] for beginning Russian; Windows only.
  • English to Russian Phonetic Index Talking Dictionary [external [link]. This is a really great site. You type in a word, and it gives you the word in Cyrillic, phonetically spelled, and an audio file that you can listen to the word.
  • Russian online tutorial and phrasebook [external [link] "made by travelers from Russia for travelers worldwide." Has audio files as well.
  • Enchanted learning [external [link] has activities for learning basic words and phrases Russian, phonetic spelling without Cyrillic. Although geared toward children, this would be useful for anyone wanting to master just a little of the language.
  • Russian Alphabet [external [link], Greetings [external [link] and Farewells [external [link] from Friends & Partners. Includes Cyrillic, transiliteration, comments on usage, translation and an audio file.
  • TravLang [external [link] Foreign language for travelers. Basic words, numbers, shopping/dining, travel, directions, places, time and dates. Includes the word in English, Cyrillic, spelled phonetically, and an audio file.
  • Wild Natures [external [link], a tour company in Kazakhstan, has words/phrases spelled phonetically; there appears to be an audio file, but I could not get it to work. Categories common Russian words, date and time, in the restaurant, in the hotel, when you need transport, and when you need health care.

Books, Audio and Video

You will find many dictionary and language programs in the Bookstore on the Russian Language page.

Bilingual Baby [external [link] by Small Fry Productions. DVD/VHS, children ages 1-5. "Your child will only hear RUSSIAN on this video. Russian words appear on screen to help readers and to reinforce what they see and hear. Small on-screen words appear in English so parents and older siblings can learn too!"

Unforgettable Languages [external [link] uses the "Linkword Method", has CD-ROM and downloadable courses.

Russian Language Lessons [PDF link] for Peace Corp volunteers in Kazakhstan.


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Page last updated on 22 November 2009.

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