Certain words that sounds almost exactly the same in English and in Russian, and universally translated by professional translators as the same, have in fact very different meanings in English (I mean American English, I do not know much about British English) and in Russian.


It causes considerable amount of confusion in business transactions, immigration, litigation, and everywhere else. For example, simple English word “partnership” translated in Russian as «партнерство». In American

English word “partnership” has a very specific legal meaning, i.e. that the parties have certain joint ownership in the enterprise. In Russian, they use the word “partnership” very loosely, to describe any type of business relationships, from cooperation on a project, to simple business transactions between manufacturer and distributor, or buyer and seller, or wholesaler and retail, or any kind of customer/service provider relationships.


It causes a lot of confusion on American side, when they see the relationships being descripted as “partners”, when in fact, they are not even close. In immigration, we ask client sometimes to provide recommendations from influential people from the industry. Each letter we get, claims that the client is a “partner” and they have “partnership” relationships with the company. Well, for immigration officer it’s a bad sign, as it signals the letter is written by an interested party who has some financial gains from the process, not by an objective person who had some knowledge of the matter.


On another hand, when Russian businessman describes to American counter-part that now they are partners, it signals to American side that they will have certain ownership rights to the enterprise. Which is totally opposite of what Russian meant.


There is a lot more samples like that. Be wary.