A letter from John Watkins of ENLASO Corp.

Dear Asya,

I am writing to offer you my sincerest sympathies for the recent loss of your father. He worked with us for many, many years. He was a loyal, dedicated employee at ENLASO who applied his high intelligence with great integrity to help our customers have the best Russian translations they could have. His history with us goes back to Polyglot where he and Igor [Bekman] were integral to the Russian linguistic work at that time. With Igor, he continued supporting our efforts by moving with us to RWS LLC after the purchase of Polyglot and then to ENLASO after the management buyout of RWS LLC in 2004. He transitioned to On-Demand (part-time employee) status when he reached retirement age; however, he still kept active in ENLASO linguistic projects, working side-by-side with Igor, serving as his editor for many years. We will truly miss his presence in our company.

My deepest condolences to you, Asya, at this difficult time,

John Watkins

President, ENLASO Corporation

 

A letter from Larry Cannon

Dear Ms. Pereltsvaig,

I learned a few days ago, with sorrow and a real sense of loss, of the passing of your father. I met him in person perhaps four times, decades ago, but he has reviewed my work for different agencies for all that time.

Over the years, of all the Russian editors, no, make that “of all the editors,” who have worked on my translations I had the greatest respect for Misha. He never made a “correction” that ran contrary to my sense of American English grammar. He never criticized any aspect of the writing and grammatical style I use, which used to be known as “American standard English” before the teaching of English in the United States began to decay in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In technical matters he never made anything other than well-reasoned comments, posed anything other than sensible questions, or offered anything other than substantive comments.

In person he was a soft-spoken but confident gentleman in whose presence I always felt comfortable.

In my experience agencies and their personnel come and go, with utter indifference to the freelancers who work for them. As a freelancer I have learned to be indifferent to their coming and going as well. But in Misha’s case, I will genuinely miss our professional interactions, and regret that, by circumstance, I did not get to spend more time in his gentle presence.

Please accept my sincerest condolences.

Larry Cannon
Technical translator

Ирина Краснокутская о Мише

Никогда не думала, что надо будет писать в память о Мише.

Как-то казалось, что он – неотъемлемая часть всех нас. Навсегда. Рядом, готовый подставить свое плечо, помочь, поддержать. Всегда очень скромный, интеллигентный, сдержанный и немногословный во всем, что касалось его и его проблем. Мы даже не знали, были ли они у него. Во всяком случае, он никогда никого ими не обременял и не хотел быть кому-то в тягость.

Я познакомилась с Мишей почти 20 лет назад, когда он пришел в наш Полиглот, переводческую фирму. Там был Русский отдел. Я помню этот день очень хорошо, работы было немного, а Миша принес образец перевода, написанный от руки. Он не умел пользоваться компьютером. Честное слово. Образец не показался нашему ведущему переводчику. И был шанс, что в тот день мы могли бы проворонить Мишу, не узнав его. Но в тот день у Игоря Бекмана было хорошее настроение. И еще у него было несколько страниц перевода, который он дал Мише на проверку. Миша взял красный карандаш и уделал Бекмана. Я пришла в ужас, зная, чем это чревато, Миша Ищенко весело засмеялся, а Амбарцум Мкртычев замер в ожидании. Надо сказать, что великий переводчик Бекман пришел в восторг и побежал просить, чтобы Мишу взяли редактором. Так, по сути, встретились два мэтра, великий переводчик и великий редактор – абсолютно уникальные представители переводческого мира. И именно Игорю мы должны быть благодарны, что он не отпустил Мишу. И всем, кто Игоря поддержал.

Мише не надо было много работать на компьютере, все, что требовалось, – умение владеть красным карандашом, но со временем Миша стал мастером и в компьютерной области. Миша был не только виртуозным редактором, но впоследствии и переводчиком ничуть не хуже. Это со стороны казалось легкостью, но за всем этим стояли энциклопедические знания, колоссальная мощь и постоянное желание двигаться вперед. Всегда. Он практически не пропускал ошибок, качество переводов из Полиглота на многие годы было гарантировано теперь не только классными мастерами перевода, но и мастером-редактором.

Как специалист, он был просто гениальный. Таких сейчас уже почти нет. Просто старая гвардия, и нам, мне просто неслыханно повезло узнать его.

Когда наш Полиглот стал разваливаться, я ушла. А Миша сказал, что готов помогать во всем, хотя в то время Фрида была уже серьезно больна. И по сути, зачем ему было тратить время на фирму без клиентов. В ночь перед открытием офиса «полетел» network, и Миша прилетел, прибежал, несмотря на поздний час вместе с Фридой, которая отвлекала меня разговорами.

Эти замечательные 12 лет нашего сотрудничества. Я так благодарна Вам, Миша! Во многом благодаря Вам LEXT не потерял ни единого контракта.

Когда они повалили, Вы при каждом новом клиенте говорили, что уже пора закладывать фундамент для небоскреба и строить, а потом укрепить наверху название фирмы. Это стало дежурной шуткой.

Вы даже больше, чем я, очень близко к сердцу принимали весь процесс работы с клиентами и переводчиками. У вас были любимчики, а были некоторые безграмотные – и к этим Вы относились с брезгливостью. Ну, не любили вы таких. У вас всегда была высокая планка. Помню, вы позвонили и сказали: О Боже (ваше любимое вводное), эта дура в слове из 5 букв сделала 4 ошибки. Вы даже разозлились.

КАЧЕСТВО было постоянной частью разговора. Мы часто спорили, и надо отдать Вам должное, я часто, хоть и не всегда, соглашалась с Вами. Вы были моей опорой, вдохновителем, я не знаю, есть ли у меня право считать Вас своим другом, очень близким человеком. Но у меня есть право быть Вам благодарной всю свою жизнь.

Для меня это была целая эпоха. И сейчас, когда включается компьютер, нет практически ни единой работы, которая делалась без Мишиного участия. За день мы обменивались сообщениями несчетное количество раз и звонили по Скайпу и по телефону. В последний раз я получила от Миши сообщение 9 го августа в 1:46 дня по вашингтонскому времени, а потом я написала ему на Скайп, чтобы он не ездил на аттракцион с подводной лодкой, что может произойти отслоение сетчатки из-за перемены давления, а он мне написал: «do not worry, all is ok» – это я скопировала из Cкайпа

Потом Миша позвонил, чтобы поговорить о проблеме одного из клиентов, и как ее надо решить. Мы договорились обсудить все несколько позднее – я торопилась.

И все.

 

Мишин уход – это невосполнимо, он создал пустоту, ощущение неуверенности – не посоветоваться больше. Это все нестерпимая боль весь день, так как надо продолжать работать без него, а я думаю о нем постоянно, и все не верится. Его уход – это потеря части нашей жизни, которая больше никогда не повторится. Каждый день, открывая компьютер, кажется, что надо проверить, нет ли в почте чего-нибудь от Миши – ведь это- виртуальное пространство, а в 8 утра по Калифорнии все смотрю в Скайпе – включился или нет. Мы проживали каждый рабочий день вместе много лет. Теперь надо учиться все это делать без него.

Миша все делал быстро-быстро, как-бы на лету, виртуозно, очень легко. Он и ушел быстро, просто моментально.

Миша, я Вас буду помнить с благодарностью. Пока я есть.

Asya about Dad

[This is my translation of my speech at Dad’s funeral. I am sure Dad would have done a much better job at translating it!]

In the beginning I would like to say a few words about my father’s life and about the kind of man he was.

My father was born on August 8, 1935 in Chernigov, Ukraine. He was not yet 6 years old at the start of the Great Patriotic War in June 1941. With his mother (my grandmother Minna) and sister Lora he was evacuated to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Those were difficult years that Dad didn’t like to talk about. After the War, the family moved to Leningrad. There Dad went to an all-boy school. He became close friends with some of his fellow students and even the teachers. I know about these friendships not only from my Dad’s stories, as even when I was already a teenager, Dad’s classmates continued to gather together, including at our home. We visited Dad’s French teacher, Valentina Lukinichna. As he did with everything he put himself to in later years, Dad studied hard and graduated with all A’s and a gold medal. In the summer of 1952, he was accepted to the Military Mechanical Institute in Leningrad. It was a particular feat for a Jew because of the quotas, but Dad’s grades practically guaranteed his acceptance. After graduation from the Institute, he worked and studied in a graduate program, and later defended a Ph.D. dissertation in Mechanical Engineering.

On October 8, 1971 my Mom and Dad got married. They lived together for over 30 years, inseparable in good and bad times alike. When my Mom was ill with cancer, Dad did everything to help her, and several times brought her back from the brink of death. Dad spent the last twelve days of Mom’s life by her bedside in the hospital, not leaving for more than a few minutes at a time. He donated blood to be transfused to her, and did all he could to ease her suffering. He was a devoted husband and a loyal friend.

 

In 1993 Mom and Dad moved to California. My father was really happy to live in the States. a country he really loved. He was very proud to be an American, which he considered himself from the day of their arrival to San Francisco. Dad considered the States his home, he never said “here” meaning Russia, only the U.S. He had a good life in America though it was not always easy.

About a month after arriving to the U.S., my Dad got his first job at Polyglot (in the photo on the left, he is pictured with two of his colleagues there: Irina and Boris). At first, he worked as a editor, then also as a translator. This was not exactly a job that he trained for or worked in for 30 years in Russia, but Dad was very enthusiastic about it. He worked on many important projects, including the International Space Station, international satellite launches, oil and gas exploration on Sakhalin, decommissioning of chemical weapons and of radiation therapy equipment. He worked with such partners as NASA and Boeing, Department of Defense and Khrunichev Space Center. I once helped Dad translate documents about meal arrangements for US personnel working at Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Dad worked with great enthusiasm and dedication to the very last day, even though he was already in partial retirement, on vacation, and it was his birthday. But even these three excuses didn’t stop him. He always worked hard and treated everything he did with great responsibility. He often cited the words he ascribed to Margaret Thatcher’s grandmother, saying: “If it’s worth doing something at all, it is worth doing it well”. From the early age, he taught me his responsible and industrial attitude. He never checked my homework and didn’t let Mom check it either. He used to say to Mom: “Freyda, she must learn responsibility and discipline now”.

Dad not only worked a lot and with great dedication, but he also loved to learn new things and continued to do so his whole life. When he was already in his 60s, he learned to drive a car. Also in America, Dad learned to use a computer. When he started his first job at Polyglot, he made his edits with a red pen on paper, but in a few years he taught himself the mastery of computers: he didn’t just use it as a type-writer, but could do very complicated things, install software and hardware, repair computers, even put them together from pieces. And he was always happy to teach others.

This is another very important quality that Dad possessed—he always shared everything he knew and was ready to help in any difficult situation. I already mentioned that Dad helped Mom in so many ways. And of course, Dad helped me a lot! When I got ill (I lived in Connecticut then), Dad took the first flight from California in order to be near me, in the hospital. He traveled a lot—to Norway, Canada, around the States—helping me pack, move, and settle in a new place. In this photo Dad is pictured in front of a Hurtigrute boat in Tromso in June 2002, when he came to help me move to California. I should note that Dad didn’t think of all he did helping others as a chore, but more as an opportunity and a pleasure for himself. Very often he would do something for me, and I’d thank him, but Dad would say: “No, thank YOU!” I’d ask “what for?” and Dad would always say something like “without you I wouldn’t have visited such a beautiful place” or “without you I wouldn’t have had dinner at such a nice restaurant” and so on.

Dad had an uncanny ability to see good in everything and everyone. He knew to live “yummily”, as he would say, to enjoy life. He spent his last week in Hawaii, enjoying every minute of it. We spoke on the phone or skype every day, and he told me every time: “Everything is perfect, we are having a great time, swimming in the ocean…” This was a paradise for him, and he spent those days that turned out to be his last with the people he loved: Lyuda and the 5-year old Paul, whom Dad adored.

On this morning that was going to be his last, Dad, Lyuda, and Paul took a ride to Lohaina to look at tropical fish. As a veritable knight that he was, Dad met his death “in a saddle”: he was driving. While losing consciousness, he managed to swerve the car to a parking lot and make sure that nobody else was hurt. This characterizes him to perfectly!

Dad was not a religious man and didn’t believe in God. But I think God exists and heard his wishes: Dad didn’t want to have a slow decline into the fog of old years. God gave him a quick and painless death. The last thing he saw was a breathtaking view of West Maui Mountains. But how sad that he left us so early! He could still enjoy so much of life, be happy and full of energy as he always was. I miss him! I will remember and love him always, and he will always be just nearby.

Rest in peace!

One last thing: look at this photo taken in Chicago a couple of years ago. He’s wearing a T-shirt that says “Give Blood, Give Life”. He received this T-shirt for donating a certain amount of blood. He had several T-shirts from the Blood Center, as he was a dedicated blood donor. He was giving blood not only for Mom, for family members, but even for people he didn’t know. Even after 9/11 Dad donated blood, hoping it could help folks on the East Coast.