Writing for the NHSA

For my project, I volunteered at the NHSA (Naval Historical Society of Australia). After I’ve completed a research directory to make further research processes within the NHSA easier and faster, and have transferred 40 pdf and Word files with the Occasional Papers (the NHSA’s periodical articles) into the website’s blog post format, I was approached by Walter, the editor of the Naval Historical Review – a quarterly journal published by the NHSA. The Naval Historical Review is a printed edition that goes to all NHSA members who pay an annual subscription. The average print run of the magazine is about 700 copies, and it is also available to members online.
Walter told me that, in his opinion, the Review lacked publications about the modern international naval affairs, thus failing to interest a wider audience. After finding out that I am Russian, Walter proposed for me to help him with writing and editing an article for the Review about the modern Russian naval perspective. Walter was specifically interested in the perspective on the latest maritime affairs concerning the Northern Sea Route (NSR), a shipping route that stretches from the Novaya Zemlya archipelago to the Bering Strait. When we were discussing this in late September, a container ship called Venta Maersk was about to complete a historical journey through the NSR, the first of its kind, proving if the NSR could be further used for container vessels and trade. This could change the map of international shipping routes, and the vessel’s later successful completion of the journey on September 28 renewed international – and, of course, Russian – interest in the NSR’s possibilities.
As Walter and I have decided, he would like me to translate several Russian news sources about the current Russian development of the NSR, combined with a part from an analytical article, into English, and to add a short historical introduction. Thus, the goal was to provide the Naval Historical Review with an article of approx. 3000 words (or less) that would cover the current NSR-related affairs, future perspectives, and local Russian maritime news. While it is not original in its content – it mostly consists of translations – it would be original, and highly interesting, for the Australian readers of the journal, and, as Walter himself noted, a Russian news source and a Russian translator would add up to the credibility of the material.
In my process of translation and editing, I was aiming for a balance of technical features and latest developments with a more general information style. Most of the Russian maritime news are very technically written, and I dutifully translated them as such, bearing in mind that the journal’s audience probably consists of a narrow group of people well informed about ships and their construction. At the same time, it is a public journal article, so it doesn’t seek to be strictly academical or formal. And, because Walter wanted the article to inform its audience about the current affairs, not the past, I have only included a brief introduction of the historical context of Russian Arctic exploration history without delving into much detail. The result will be published in the next edition of the Journal, in March 2019.
Overall, the translation and editing process had been a bit of a challenge. Yet working with the NHSA as a whole was a delight; I’m very glad I could contribute to their work, and hope that the article will be of use and of interest to the readers. It was so lovely to get to know some of the members, who were incredibly welcoming and friendly over the course of our work together. I am grateful to the people of the Society for their time, and to Mike for the opportunity.