Russian Language

welocalize January 4, 2019

Russian is an Indo-European East Slavic language. It is the 8th most spoken language in the world. It is the official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, as well as in several minor territories. The other countries of the former Soviet Union do not have Russian as an official language, however it is widely spoken.

Here is a collection of Russian language data points and tips to help you on your global journey:

  • Official language. Russian is one of the official languages of world organizations, such as United Nations, World Health Organization, UNESCO, World Intellectual Property Organization, International Telecommunication Union, Food and Agricultural Development, International Monetary Fund, and the International Olympic Committee.
  • Online speakers. Russian is the 8th most common language by share of internet users. (World Internet Stats, 2017)
  • Difficult language. Russian is considered one of the harder languages to learn, as it has a complicated system of tenses and large numbers of irregular conjugations.
  • Patronymic name. A family name consists of first name, patronymic, and surname, e.g.: Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevski. This will be the son of Mikhayl, as the patronymic name is a combination of the father’s name and “-ovich”, if it is a son. Daughters will be named e.g.: Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva, which takes the father´s name “Ivan” and add “- ovna” at the end instead. It is considered polite to address someone by his or her first name and patronymic name.
  • Business protocol. Russians value hierarchy, where age, rank, and position are treated with respect. The most senior person will reach decisions, and Russian executives will prefer to meet with people of similar rank and position.

Clinical Trials Data

  • Clinical trials. There are currently 4,300 clinical trials currently registered in Russia. (
  • Russian in Israel? Patient-facing documents in Israel are translated into more than Hebrew. For example, the Informed Consent Form (ICF) must be written in Hebrew in accordance with the Ministry of Health format. The Hebrew-ICF template is then translated to the various spoken languages in Israel, for example Arabic, Russian, Amharic, and English, as needed. (Source: Duke Clinical Research Institute)
  • Additional markets. Welocalize Life Sciences often translates clinical documentation into Russian for countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. For example, in addition to translating patient-facing documents into the local languages of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, they are also translated into Russian.

Did you know? Russia requires translation of clinical research documents such as full Clinical Trial Protocol and Investigator’s Brochure, neither of which require translation in the European Union Countries, as they are submitted  directly in English.

Interesting Language and Cultural Facts about Russian

  • Culture and traditions. Russian tea culture is as strong as vodka culture in Russia, and traditions govern everything from how many flowers to give a woman to how to drink a bottle of vodka.
  • According to a Russian Public Opinion Research Center’s survey in 2015, 50% of Russians conform their behavior to their beliefs in superstitions. From salt to empty bottles to handshakes, here are the most popular ones.
  • In outer space. Russian is also one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station. Astronauts serving next to Russian astronauts will usually have Russian language classes prior to the launch. (Source:

Contact us if you’re in need of professional Russian translation, interpreting, or website localization services.