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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Translations and Translation Studies in the Russian, Eastern European & Eurasian Context: Databases

A Brief Overview of the Field, and A Guide to Resources for Identifying Translated Works

From the Russian Academy of Sciences

One of the largest and most comprehensive suites of databases in the social sciences and humanities for the REEE region, the Databases of the Institute of Scholarly Information on the Social Sciences (also known simply as INION or, somewhat misleadingly, as the "Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies") is available both via subscription and via a slightly-less-convenient free interface.  While the primary focus of the database is on the social sciences, a search for a term like "переводная" does yield citations to articles on the semiotics of literary translation, literary prose translations in mid-18th-century Russia, Russian translations from Byzantine sources, translations in the monastic scriptoria of early modern Moscow, the international conference "Translated literature in Ancient Rus'" (2004), translations of French philological texts in 18th-century St. Petersburg, and translations of French historical texts in the early Russian Empire, all within the first ten results.  A search for "tłumacz*" (i.e., a truncated version of various Polish words having to do with translation, e.g. "tłumaczenie", ""tłumaczeniowa", "tłumaczeniowej", etc.) is similarly successful.

More information on INION is available here.

Full text of nearly 1,000 journals

The text below is an excerpt from Johannes Reinhart's "Древнеболгарский перевод Слова Иоанна Златоуста перед ссылькой (CPG 4397)" (Starobulgarska literatura, 33/34 (2005), pp. 167-178).

Medieval Times

Translation in what is now the REEE region predates Dostoevsky by over a millenium.  The International Medieval Bibliography, with its not-inconsiderable coverage of REEE scholarship on the time period from 300 to 1500 CE (see the complete list of the periodicals they index at, provides a means to review the secondary literature on early religious and secular translations.  In addition to articles from journals, edited volumes (sborniki) and festschrifts, reviews of these are also indexed, as in the example below.

Some additional information on the database is available in the Slavic Reference Service's Guide to Multilingual Electronic Resources.

Southern Star: COBISS


Is it possible to search ~731 libraries for translations, books, journals and journal articles, reviews, dissertations, bibliographies, etc., in a single network of libraries?  The answer is always COBISS.  COBISS aka Co-operative Online Bibliographic Systems and Services is a library network and includes the following countries: Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Kosovo [Note: Croatia has not accepted COBISS’s invitation to participate].  The scope and scale of the wonder that is COBISS has no equal in North America (and most of Europe).  Researchers can search individual participating countries via their union bibliographic /catalogue database or search the numerous libraries in the library network.  For researchers who are not convinced, let the statistics (a snapshot) for bibliographic records speak for COBISS:

Bosnia and Herzegovina ( ~50 participating libraries): 1, 200 links to e-resources, 340,000 books, 10, 000 articles, and 7, 500 journals.

Bulgaria (currently one participating library in COBISS):  ~425, 000 books, 410, 000 articles, 40, 000 journals, and 1, 000 CDs/DVDs.

Serbia (150 Serbian libraries): 55, 000 links to e-resources, 1.6 million books, 780, 000 articles, 70, 000 journals, 190, 000 non-print materials. 

Slovenia (430 Slovenian libraries): 140, 000 links to e-resources, 2.2 million books, 1.5 million articles, 100, 000 journals, and 100, 000 CDs/DVDs.

Holding statistics for Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania can be found via the main access point:

The leading resource for literary and linguistic studies

MLA features some of the best retrospective coverage among databases in the social sciences and humanities, indexing a wide range of materials as far back as 1926. Over 1.8 million citations to journal articles, books, and dissertations on modern languages, literature, film and folklore are included. In many cases book reviews can also be found. Translations of literary works are not indexed in MLA.

  • Indexes materials from over 1,000 book publishers and over 4,400 journals and series, which are listed (and individually searchable) via the MLA Directory of Periodicals.
  • Huge number of search options
  • Includes a thesaurus

For a Western database, MLA indexes a massive amount of material on Slavic and East European languages and literatures, and can be extremely useful to researchers. There are over 19,000 MLA records, for example, that have been assigned the descriptor "Ukrainian literature." Thanks to the huge number of search options and MLA's flexible interface, result lists of this size can easily be narrowed to more manageable proportions. Adding "postmodernism" in a Boolean search narrows the field to 18 articles.  Here's what a hit looks like:




The menu at the top of the interface demonstrates the variety of options via which the database can be mined:

Side by side: Translation studies and Literature Resource Center

Literature Resource Center can be characterized as “the best kept secret” in the collection of subscription based online resources at the University of Illinois.  Although we cannot support or verify some of the claims made by the publisher (see below), we can, however, attest to its importance to anyone working on literary criticism, translations and translation studies, bio-bibliographical essays, etc.  Researchers and students alike can search this database for full-text articles from academic publications, literary journals, critical essays and reviews, literary movements, individual works of authors, and in-depth biographical essays.   The scope of this database is quite extraordinary: “… covering all genres and disciplines, all time periods and all parts of the world” [Note: Publisher’s claim].  Every researcher needs a firm foundation for any research topic; the Literature Resource Center is an invaluable research companion and an authoritative starting point.   Access [Note: this is a subscription based resource].

Index Translationum - World Bibliography of Translation

If there ever was a global resource for translations and translation studies, then the Index Translationum is a sure a bet.  This index was first published in 1932 as a serial publication (see below for print holdings) and continues today as an online searchable database for translations of books worldwide.   Researchers can rely on this database for translations published by the UNESCO member states (~100 member states) from 1979-2012.  For translations before 1979, researchers can consult the print issues.  As of June 7, UIUC has the issues for the following years:  1932 – 1986 [UIUC record] (Note: some issues missing).  This database contains ~200,0000 entries for all academic fields of study: social sciences, life and physical sciences, arts and humanities, etc.   In terms of access points for this database, researchers can search by: original language, target language and country, place of publication, subject, publication year, translator, and publisher.  This database can be accessed HERE

This sample search for translations into "Chuvash," a Turkic language spoken in the Chuvash Republic (Russian Federation), yielded 185 records. 

A German-centered approach

 IBZ (the Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur, or "International bibliography of periodical literature in the humanities and social sciences") advertises itself as "the leading international and interdisciplinary reference work documenting academic periodical literature in the humanities, social sciences and related fields for over a hundred years."  For our purposes, it serves mainly to provide bibliographic access to German-language materials on translation and translation studies that may not be well-indexed elsewhere.  It also indexes serial publications from Russia and Eastern Europe, but items in Cyrillic script must be searched using the German DIN system of transliteration, not the more familiar ALA-LC system (i.e., "cechov," not "chekhov" ;   "majakovskij," not "maiakovskii" ;  etc.).  The following are sample results for a German-language search for "übersetzung" (i.e., "translation") and "russische":






Citations to Russian-language materials can be retrieved through searches for transliterated Russian terms such as "perevod", as can be seen in the following examples:





Clicking on any of the brief records above leads to a more complete record with full citation information, such as this one, for an article on a 17th-century translation of the Lord's Prayer into Nganasan:


A list of the journals indexed by IBZ can be found here.