Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 10

Playing the Role of Interpreter

Listen To Entire Episode

Exercises Only

Welcome to episode #10. Today we’re going to have you play the role of interpreter. Aside from being fun practice, this is also pretty realistic. After all, you’re probably the only person in your group or your family who speaks Russian, now. So, they’ll need you to interpret for them if they go with you to Russia or Ukraine, or if a Russian speaking friend or relative comes to visit. So, get ready to translate…

I need to mention, as I’ve done from time to time, that these podcasts are cumulative. Each one assumes you’ve mastered the material taught in all the previous episodes. So, if you’re new, please start with Episode #1 of RussianMadeEasy. Ok, let’s dive in. Please translate the following:

Здравствуйте. Меня зовут Владимир.

Means: Hello. My name is Vladimir.

А как Вас зовут?

And what’s your name?

Это мой друг Сергей. Он – музыкант.

This is my friend Sergei. He is a musician.

А это моя подруга Наташа. Она – студентка.

This is my friend Natasha. She is a student.

Джон – американец. A Катя – англичанка.

John is an American, whereas Katya is an Englishwoman.

Марк, это твой папа?

Mark, is this your dad?

Да. Он – адвокат.

Yes. He’s a lawyer.

And this is your mom?

А это твоя мама?

Yes. She is a doctor.

Да. Она – доктор.

Мой папа – австралиец, а моя мама – американка.

My dad is an Australian, whereas my mom is an American.

Сергей, хочешьь кушать?

Sergei, want to eat?

А что есть?

And what is there?

Есть паста и салат и суп.

There is pasta and salad and soup.

Хорошо. Я буду пасту, пожалуйста.

Ok. I’ll have pasta, please.

А что ты хочешь, Наташа?

And what do you want, Natasha?

А я хочу борщ.

And I want borscht.

In this next one, there’s a word that’s new to these podcasts. The word is ИЛИ. Can you figure out what it means?

Хочешь чай или кофе?

Хмм..Чай, пожалуйста.

So, или translates as “or”. Let’s try those last two phrases again…

Хочешь чай или кофе?

Want tea or coffee?

Хмм..Чай, пожалуйста.

Hmm…Tea, please.

Imagine you’re standing outside a pizzeria and a sushi bar. Your friend asks:

Что ты хочешь? Пиццу или суши?

That means: What do you want? Pizza or sushi?

Я не хочу кушать.

I don’t want to eat.

V.O. And now, here’s your Tip of the Day from Russian Made Easy…

To really maximize your practice time, I recommend hitting pause now and again, and treating the phrase you heard as a construction. Then quickly input a few different content words. For example, that last phrase was:

Я не хочу кушать.

The content word there is кушать…that’s the word you can take out to insert other words. So you might say:

I don’t want pizza.

Я не хочу пиццу.

I don’t want vodka.

Я не хочу водку.

I don’t want sushi.

Я не хочу суши

Just a few, like that. See if you can rattle off five really quickly. That’s just a good habit to get into when you’re listening to a lot of Russian. Hit pause after a particular phrase and treat it as a construction.

Let’s keep going. Translate the following…

Марк, кто это?

Mark, who is this?

Это мой друг Глэн. Он – бизнесмен.

This is my friend, Glenn. He is a businessman.

Он – канадец.

He’s a Canadian.

А кто это?

And who’s this?

Это моя подруга Джэнифер. Она – австралийка.

This is my friend Jennifer. She’s Australian.

Хочешь йогурт или маффин или блины?

Want yogurt or a muffin or crepes?

Нет, спасибо. Я не хочу кушать.

No, thanks. I don’t want to eat.

Хочешь капучино?

Want cappuccino?

Хорошо. Спасибо.

Ok. Thanks.



Хмм…икру? Нет, спасибо. Не хочу.

Hmm…caviar? No thanks. I don’t want.

So, how’d you do with all these? If you got most or all, then you’re doing great. This episode was kind of a mid-term, so we’re getting out of class early today. But today’s exercises are longer. What I did for the download exercises was take today’s translation practice and flip it around. So, for homework, you need to say each of today’s phrases in Russian. So be sure to download those, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

DOWNLOADS – (right click with mouse and “save as”)

Episode 9 – Full Program

Episode 10 – Exercises Only


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30 responses to “Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 10”

  1. Jeanloui Avatar

    Hi Mark, I wanted to express my gratitude, I really enjoy your lessons, you are by far the best teacher I have ever encountered. It really is easy to learn under your guidance. I plan to check out the Russian Accelerator courses after I finish all these lessons. I can really see my progress each day. I’m in the military and they offer some courses, but this is the best one yet. I wish i would’ve started earlier! Thank you for putting this material out.

    -Cheers & happy holidays

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      My pleasure, Jeanloui. So glad you’re benefiting. Let me know how you do on the Final Exam, and afterward I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course!

      Happy holidays to you and yours,


  2. Will Avatar

    Hi Mark! I just wanted to say that I love this course! I’ve attempted to learn Russian before through various methods. (A certain green bird to name one) and they all lacked one thing. They failed to explain grammar rules in a way that I understood. This podcast does that with ease. I appreciate it. The looks I get when I walk around at work mumbling a language that others don’t understand makes me excited to learn more. Thanks again!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Will,

      Thanks for the kind words. So glad you’re enjoying RME! I look forward to welcoming you to RA when you’re done!


  3. Amy Avatar

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you so much for your fantastic course! I find it so easy to follow and I love the useful tips in each episode. I studied French, Spanish and Arabic at uni but feel like the way you teach is helping me come on leaps and bounds compared to how I initially learnt those languages! I am learning Russian to be able to speak to new Ukrainian friends who are now living with my family. I love seeing their eyes light up as I come a (poorly but confidently!) attempt to speak in their mother tongue. Just need to keep practising and hopefully one day I’ll be able to speak to them easily. Really appreciate your work!

    Kind regards,

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I hope when you’ve finished my RME Podcast you’ll move on to our premier course, ‘Russian Accelerator.’
      Until then, keep up the great work and thanks so much for supporting those from my (adopted) home country.


  4. Silena Avatar

    Hi Mark, you are a great teacher and your classes have brought me way further in a much shorter time than I expected. I am currently learning French and Latin at school but I think Russian is a lot more useful. I am 14 and this is my fifth language. Do you think that this makes it harder for me to learn another language or would you say it gets easier the more languages I know.
    Best regards from Germany!
    Silena B.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Silena,

      Five languages? That’s incredible. I imagine it can only help (as long as you keep the grammar straight), because languages borrow from each other. (Russian, for example, has the word картофель which is from German Kartoffeln, and so on.

      Keep up the great work, and best wishes in your pursuit of all those languages.

  5. Jota Avatar

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you so much for creating these excellent resources and making them available for free. This podcast series has been one of my most positive language-learning experiences so far, as someone who dabbles in languages on the side and who has been frustrated by the lack of progress with many other free resources. I love your emphasis on using effective teaching methods and feel that I’m in great hands to make progress.

    I was wondering if you could suggest some methods or resources to learn Russian handwriting? It appears that cursive can differ quite a lot in style, as well as be confusing with its numerous loops.

    Best regards and thank you again,

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Джота!

      Thanks for the kind words. So glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      re: handwriting…I don’t have any particular recommendation, but my son is learning cursive (Russian) handwriting via school workbooks. Can probably find something on eBay or Amazon. Or maybe kniga.com or similar site. But…

      …I don’t recommend learning it yet. Unless you plan to be exchanging handwritten notes, or research ancient handwritten Russian texts, your time is better spent learning ti speak and understand spoken Russian. Any moment wasted on handwriting is a moment that could otherwise be spent learning a new verb, a new construction, a new idiom. Learn to speak and understand Russian well, and I assure you the reading/writing part is a breeze. (And of course, this is how it is in your native language. We learn to speak and process spoken English for literally *years* before ever being asked to write.)

      Hope this helps. And I hope to welcome you to Russian Accelerator one day. til then,

      Kind regards from Ukraine,


  6. Dave Avatar

    Hi Mark!

    I am doing your podcast course together with a Youtube course for a few weeks now and I must say Russian is not so terrifying as I thought it would be. Usually I listen to one or two podcasts on my way to work. I was really strugling with the word hello but thanks to your podcast and the way you learned us I now know how to say it.
    I can proudly say thay besides one or maybe two errors in the midterm #1 I got everything right. Did not expect that.
    It is getting more difficult though now. But once I actually understand what they are saying it feels like a victory. I tend to “forget” to review lessons and just want to move on as quickly as possible. I try to remind myself to replay the same podcast a few times until I master it before I move on. What I really find difficult is reading. I still have problems in figuring out what it says sometimes, and have to analyze words letter by letter, but maybe I want to go to fast and I will get there in time.
    Looking forward to the next episode.


    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Дейв! <--- Can you read that? (This email is a re-send from my personal email)I'm so glad you're enjoying my podcast. I hope you'll check out my premier online course called Russian Accelerator. I promise, we'll turn you into a confident, conversational Russian speaker. You can learn more about it here... https://www.russianaccelerator.com/sign-up.html

      Kind regards from Ukraine,

      Mark Thomson
      Pres. Russian Accelerator

  7. Sharon Avatar

    Hi Mark, I’ve just completed all of lesson 10 RME inc exercises. Really enjoyed this whole content and especially translating both ways. Gives one a sense of achievement. I’m a third of the way though your RME course. And it’s taken me about 3 months starting from scratch. I started with the alphabet first but that was before I found your course. And then this week I fell upon your learn Cyrillic in 3 hours and I really liked the way you teach the alphabet. The photos of shop names and signs is really helpful rather than just writing the letters in words (which was how I learnt in May elsewhere). So I skipped through the 3 hour course and realised how long it had taken me initially. A good re-cap. And my brain was well dried after trying to read all the signs as a test of the alphabet learning at the end of this tutorial. I’d not dipped into your Accelerator course until then and didn’t realise you had such information on it (I assumed wrongly that the content of accelerator was all harder stuff). Another lesson in always looking laterally! Dry helpful tip re: substituting alternative words into all constructions. Love the huge variety of learning techniques you are giving in RME. Keeps it interesting and the lesson length is ideal. My new Russian dictionary is also helpful as I challenge myself looking up a Russian word using the same technique that I apply when I look up an English word. This consolidated the alphabet learning and it’s order. Thank you Mark.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Sharon,

      Russian Accelerator is waaaaay more advanced than RME…although, not initially. What I mean is, RA is designed for those who might not have gone through RME< so it starts from scratch. Simply, it's a much, much larger course...a comprehensive course that will turn you into a confident, conversational speaker of Russian. Hope to see you there! Mark

    2. Irean Avatar

      Hi Mr.mark, I love these episodes you do, I’m only at the 10th episode and I’m basically the only one in my class learning Russian. I have a question, do you you the and word in Russian when you say you mother is an South African and dad’s a Canadian, do you use the and from episode 3?

      1. Mark Thomson Avatar
        Mark Thomson

        We use А to connect the two ideas because they are different. (Here “a” functions as “whereas” or “by contrast”)
        If it was: My mom is from Canada and so is my Dad…then we’d use И because we’re connecting two similar ideas. (Like; “and in addition”)

  8. Shan Avatar

    Thank you, Mark, for offering this great Russian language course!
    I’m Chinese and recently I moved to Nepal. I just started to learn Nepali language and I’m trying to use your “contextual learning” techniques. I found myself became a more active learner than I was before when learning English and German a few years back.
    Russian used to be a language so scary to me! But I’ve gained much confidence by following your course. Though I don’t have any plan to visit a Russian- or Ukraine-speaking country in the foreseeable future, I really appreciate the method you use and the conception of your teaching!

    Thank you again, and all the best


    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Шан!

      Just curious…Why learn Russian, given your circumstances? (Mind you, it’s a great language that everyone should learn, but curious about your personal motivation.)

  9. Kine Avatar

    Hi Mark. Thank you for being such a great teacher! You really made russian easy to learn. I am only at episode 10, but it is fun learning with you. And lucky me, get to practice my English as well.

    Cheers from Norway

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Helen,
      Thanks for the kind words about my podcast. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!I hope you’ll check out Russian Accelerator. It’s my premiere online, video course.
      I promise, we’ll turn you into a confident, conversational Russian speaker.
      You can learn more about it here…


      Meantime, keep up the great work!
      Kind regards from Ukraine,
      Mark Thomson
      Pres. Russian Accelerator

  10. Ray Avatar

    O’ Mark how do you do it, fantastic!

    I’ll be giving that a go.

    Thanks, Mark…
    …and Пока

  11. Ray Avatar

    здравствуйте Mark
    I’m sure there is an answer but I’m haiving difficulty pronouncing “Tы”. I’ve looked online but can’t hear what is being said. Can you break this down for us?



    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Рей!

      Thanks for writing. And actually, I just finished a new (free) course called “Learn Russian Pronunciation”
      and Episode #6 is devoted exclusively to that troublesome Ы vowel…


      Again, it’s Ep. #6, though I rec’mnd going through all the episodes in order.

      Let me know if that helps!

  12. Dov Zabrowsky Avatar
    Dov Zabrowsky

    Hi mark! I really enjoy these podcasts, I can really see the progress from one to the next. You encourage us to write words down to remember them. In my experience, I barely ever write in English, I mostly type. So I taught myself to touch-type in Cyrillic and use that as my writing practice. Do you think that is as effective?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Dov,

      Thanks again for joining Russian Accelerator. I was just answering your podcast question.
      ANyway, yes…Typing each word is better than nothing, but there is scientific evidence to support
      the idea that writing by hand, on paper, is superior. Kinesthetic memory.

      Thanks again for joining, and please dont hesitate with any questions along the way.
      We’re here to help.

      Cheers from Ukraine,

      Mark Thomson
      Pres. R.A.

  13. Ove Avatar

    Hi Mark!

    I’m from Sweden and I’m trying to learn Russian, I want to say that I think you have a Great teaching technic!
    I think it’s interesting to learn. But so hard to remember all new words.


    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Ove!

      Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s okay to forget. Normal, even.
      What you might try is this: Take a blank piece of paper and just write down
      either **all** the Russian words you know, or the most recent 100 you learned.
      Make it a day-long project. It’s a way of confirming that, yes, you know a lot,
      sometimes it takes time to recall.

  14. Furkan Avatar

    Hi Mark. I’m an English Language Teacher from Turkey. You are following a very effective teaching and learning method. I also apply same principles in my class. This method makes people love learning a foreing language in my opinion. Now, I can build Russian sentences while the record is building in English. I also suggest to learners a subconsious approach. After taking lessons from here, you can study while you are sleeping. It is a very effective backup after learning.
    With my sincere thanks.

    1. Furkan Avatar

      Sorry about grammatical mistakes. It is a shame. I am using Turkish keyboard. I forget checking.

  15. John McClain Avatar
    John McClain

    Hi Mark, I’ve been taking these lessons for a month or so, I’ve been kind of busy, so I take a lesson, practice it, then the next day, do the same lesson in review, then do the next. I’m dealing with two puppies at six months, and running a machine shop, so I get time when I can, and “two steps forward, one back” has been working very well for me.
    Your format is well considered, and follows a logical pattern, so it come like natural. Thanks for putting this up and the follow up.
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain

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