普京到底会几种外语?顶级翻译瑟瑟发抖

President Trump and Vladimir Putin met one-on-one in Helsinki for more than two hours on Monday, more than 30 minutes longer the planned. We may never know exactly what they talked about, because the two men spoke accompanied only by translators, without the aid of an official note taker. But does Putin speak English, even if he uses a translator in meetings? How many languages can he speak?
7月16日,美国总统特朗普和俄罗斯总统普京在赫尔辛基举行了长达2个多小时的私人会晤,比原定时间超出30多分钟。由于他们只带了翻译,而没有带官方记录员进去,所以我们或许无法获知他们究竟谈了什么。那么,即便普京带了翻译,他会讲英语吗?他又会说几种语言?

自动草稿

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born in Leningrad, which is now known as St. Petersburg, in Russia, on October 7, 1952.
弗拉基米尔·弗拉基米罗维奇·普京于1952年10月7日出生于俄罗斯的列宁格勒(今圣彼得堡)。

He grew up with his family in a communal apartment and went to the local grammar and high schools, where he developed an interest in sports.
普京小时候和家人一起生活在一幢市政公共住宅楼里,他在当地的语法学校和中学就读时对体育产生了兴趣。

自动草稿

少年普京

He graduated from Leningrad State University with a law degree in 1975 and began his career in the KGB as an intelligence officer.
1975年,普京从国立列宁格勒大学法律系毕业,毕业后在苏联国家安全委员会(克格勃)任情报员。

He was stationed mainly in East Germany and held that position until 1990, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
当时他主要派驻在东德,一直从事特工工作,直到1990年以中校军衔退役。

Putin has served as president of Russia from 2000 to 2008 and was re-elected to the presidency in 2012.
普京于2000年至2008年任俄罗斯总统,2012年再次当选为总统。

The 66-year-old was previously Russia’s Prime Minister.
现年66岁的普京此前曾担任俄罗斯总理。

Putin’s linguistic abilities get much less coverage than his bear-riding and scuba-diving escapades. But it turns out that the Russian President is actually able to hold his own in a couple of tongues aside from his native Russian.
媒体对于普京语言能力的报道远比他骑熊和水肺潜水事迹少得多。但普京确实除了母语俄语之外,还能用其他几种语言表达自己的观点。

普京到底会几种外语?顶级翻译瑟瑟发抖

网络上流传的普京骑熊照,但普京在今年三月接受采访时明确回应“从来没有骑过熊”

普京到底会几种外语?顶级翻译瑟瑟发抖

2011年普京潜水照

那么,普京到底会多少种语言,掌握水平如何呢?

German 德语

Having spent the last five years of the GDR’s existence stationed in Dresden, President Putin claims he learned to speak German “fairly fluently,” and it seems the evidence would attest to that. For instance, he gave an impressive 8-minute speech on terrorism before the Bundestag back in 2001.
在德意志民主共和国(原东德)政权存续的最后五年里,普京被驻派在德累斯顿,他说自己学得一口流利的德语,而似乎事实也证明了这一点。比如,2001年,普京在德国联邦议会上做了一个长达8分钟的关于恐怖主义的演讲,令人难忘。

And for naysayers who might claim that this pre-written speech is not testament to his proficiency, perhaps this clip of him stepping in as an impromptu translator for a German politician at the 2016 St. Petersburg Journalism Forum might serve as better proof.
对于那些可能声称这篇事先写好的演讲并不能证明他的能力的反对者来说,也许这段关于他在2016年圣彼得堡新闻论坛担任德国政治家的即席翻译的片段可以更好地证明这一点。

After all, for an operative working in East Germany with the KGB, fluency in the local language would have been an absolute prerequisite.
毕竟,对于一个在东德工作的克格勃特工来说,流利使用当地语言是绝对必要的。

However, the choice of language is said to be a sore point between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who speaks Russian fluently: Despite being fluent in each other’s languages, neither is seemingly willing to concede which one is more fluent, and the pair end up negotiating with each other (probably unnecessarily) through the aid of translators.
然而,在普京与德国总理默克尔会晤时,选择使用哪一种语言成为头疼之处,因为默克尔同样能讲流利的俄语。尽管两人都熟练掌握对方的母语,但似乎都不愿意承认谁更流利一些。结果,两人最终还是选择通过翻译(可能完全没有必要)进行谈判。

English 英语

The extent of Putin’s English is one of the best-kept secrets in world politics. In the President’s own words, he can “explain himself in English a little bit,” but his Anglophone skills are seldom presented on the world stage. The only times he has done so officially have been at events promoting Russian sport and trade internationally, such as this two-and-a-half minute speech from 2013 backing Yekaterinburg’s bid for the 2020 World Expo.
普京的英语水平在世界政坛中一直是个谜,用他自己的话说,能用英语简单阐述自己的观点。但他的英语水平堪比英语母语者,却很少在世界舞台上展露。即使仅有的几次正式场合秀英语,也是在向全世界宣传俄罗斯体育和贸易的活动上,如2013年为支持叶卡捷琳堡申办2020年世博会发表的2分半钟演讲。

He also gave a more relaxed (and seemingly more off-the-cuff) speech in Vienna in 2010 at the World Judo Championships, lavishing praise on the traditionalism of Vienna and the sport of judo itself.
在2010年维也纳世界柔道锦标赛上,普京做了一次较为随意(似乎更为即兴)的演讲,对维也纳的传统主义和柔道运动大加赞赏。

And, perhaps most famously of all, he sang Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” at a 2010 charity fundraiser, much to the delight of spectator Gerard Depardieu.
或许最出名的要数他在2010年一次慈善资金筹集活动上演唱了法兹·多米诺的《蓝莓山》,这让观看演出的杰拉尔·德帕迪约颇为高兴↓

Prepared speeches are not the most reliable way to measure a politician’s English proficiency, though – after all, as was discovered by bloggers in 2010, the former Sports Minister’s English speech during Russia’s 2018 World Cup bid was written out for him in Cyrillic (Russian letters).
提前准备好的演讲并非考察一名政客英语熟练程度最靠谱的办法。博主们发现,2010年,前体育部长在俄罗斯申办2018世界杯时所作的英语演讲就是别人用西里尔字母(俄语字母)给他写好的。

However, the little evidence available to us suggests that the Russian President is genuinely able to hold a conversation in English. For example, he broke into English during a laid-back interview with CNN in 2008, responding to a question about US-Russian relations by simply stating, “All of us, we need preparation in some areas – we said about it during our talks, our meeting.” British photographer Platon also claims to have had an encounter with Putin in which the pair discussed The Beatles entirely in English.
不过,就我们目前所掌握的少量证据表明,普京确实能用英语进行对话。比如,2008年接受CNN非正式采访时他就开口说了英语,在回应关于美俄关系的问题时,他说:“我们所有人都需要在某些领域做好准备,我们在会谈时讲过这一点。”英国摄影师普拉登也称和普京有过交流,二人完全用英语谈论披头士乐队。

When it comes to diplomacy, however, Putin opts not to take his chances. “In free discourse, at the sidelines of summits, he often speaks in English by himself,” said Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov in 2017. “But during negotiations and when he is conducting an official meeting, of course he communicates through a translator. However, he practically understands English and sometimes even corrects the translators.”
涉及外交时,普京却不想借此机会秀英语。克里姆林宫新闻秘书德米特里·佩斯科夫在2017年曾表示:“在峰会之外自由谈话时,普京通常会说英语。但在磋商和主持正式会议时他当然会通过翻译进行交流。不过,实际上他是懂英语的,而且有时候甚至会纠正翻译。”

With this in mind, we can assume that President Putin’s English is probably at least at an intermediate level, and possibly higher. Although heavily accented, there is also a slight British twang on some of his pronunciation, suggesting he probably takes lessons (just watch how he says “General Assembly” in the World Expo video – very Received English-sounding).
因此,我们可以认为普京的英语至少处在中等水平,或者更高。虽然口音偏重,但他有的发音会捎带英式鼻音,说明他可能受过训练(看他在世博会视频中说“联合国大会”一词就知道了,那是非常规范的英式发音)。↓

However, whether his refusal to speak English in diplomatic spheres is down to astuteness or a lack of confidence is up for speculation.
不过,他在外交场合不说英语是出于精明还是缺乏自信,还有待观察。

Tatar 鞑靼语

Tatar, from the Republic of Tatarstan, is Russia’s second-most spoken native language (after Russian). This was celebrated by the Russian President in 2005, addressing a crowd in Kazan (the capital of Tatarstan) entirely in Tatar on the 1000th anniversary of the city’s founding. Celebrating Kazan’s contribution to Russia’s multiethnic history, Putin declared that “Kazan has played a unique role in the formation of a united people of Russia,” much to the enthusiasm of onlookers.
鞑靼斯坦共和国的鞑靼语是俄罗斯国内使用人数第二多的母语(仅次于俄语)。2005年,普京在参加喀山(鞑靼斯坦共和国首都)建城1000周年庆祝活动时,全程用鞑靼语向民众发表讲话。在谈到喀山对俄罗斯多民族历史所做的贡献时,普京表示“喀山对于建立统一的俄罗斯民族发挥了独特的作用”,极大鼓舞了现场民众。

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Putin has any proficiency in Tatar – indeed, the President himself translated some of the speech into Russian for those “who didn’t understand anything.” This speech was probably just a one-off, but nonetheless drew praise from then-Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, who allegedly his told ministers, “Since even President Putin speaks Tatar, you must all study and speak Tatar.”
当然,这并不意味着普京精通鞑靼语。事实上,为了那些“根本听不懂”的人,普京本人将一部分演讲翻译成了俄语。这次演讲或许只是一次特例,但还是得到鞑靼斯坦共和国时任总理鲁斯塔姆·明尼哈诺夫的称赞,他对各位部长说,“既然普京总统会讲鞑靼语,那你们也必须学习和讲鞑靼语”。

Swedish 瑞典语

Back in 2013, Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov claimed that he and Putin occasionally exchange phrases in Swedish. Addressing Russian newspapers, Ivanov said, “The President knows German well, and I know English. Swedish is somewhere in between – he will say something in Swedish, and I will answer in the same language.” Ivanov probably picked up some Swedish while working at the USSR’s former embassy in Helsinki, and is also alleged to have taken a Swedish class while at university in St. Petersburg.
早在2013年,时任俄罗斯总统办公厅主任谢尔盖·伊万诺夫就曾表示,他与普京偶尔会用瑞典语交流。在接受俄罗斯媒体采访时,伊万诺夫说:“总统的德语很好,而我会讲英语。我们的瑞典语水平介于两者之间,他会用瑞典语说几句,而我也会用瑞典语回答他。”

普京到底会几种外语?顶级翻译瑟瑟发抖

普京和前俄罗斯总统办公厅主任伊万诺夫

However, it’s unclear where Putin picked up his Swedish phrases – they most likely came to him purely due to the language’s proximity to German. As Ivanov explained, “Although [Putin] is not a philologist, he loves languages and linguistics.” Nonetheless, we can infer with some confidence that Putin’s knowledge of Swedish is at a beginner level.
不过,目前还不清楚普京从哪儿学的瑞典语,很可能纯粹是因为瑞典语与德语很像。正如伊万诺夫给出的解释,“虽然(普京)不是语言学家,但他喜欢语言和语言学”。尽管如此,我们可以推断,普京对瑞典语的了解处于初级水平。

对于学习外语这件事,普京本人说,自己曾“十分有规律地”学习外语,目的就是为了能在不需要翻译帮助的情况下与其他国家领导人自由交谈。“我为什么这样做呢?因为与其他同事之间建立正常的工作机制很有必要,因此必须消除语言障碍。翻译员不可能在你说每件事情的时候都在场。”

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