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Archive for October, 2011

Translating Russian addresses

October 13th, 2011 by

Translating addresses is a common translation task that can be a real challenge when you encounter unfamiliar abbreviations. This post explains how to translate a postal address from Russian to English, presents common postal terminology and abbreviations, and illustrates the translation process with examples.

How to translate an address from Russian to English

Russian addresses have historically been written from general to specific, e.g.

Россия, 105066, г.Москва
ул. Старая Басманная
д.16 стр. 1а

In May 2005, Russia officially moved to a specific-to-general format, which is more common internationally. But old habits die hard, so you’re still likely to see the general-to-specific format. (The example given above is fresh off of http://www.pravda.ru/contacts.html.)

Here’s a template of how you are likely see an address in Russian:

  • (Russia/Россия) (postal code/почтовый индекс)
  • (republic, territory, region, autonomous district (region)/название республики, края, области, автономного округа (области))
  • (district, i.e. area within a major city/район)
  • (city/название населенного пункта)
  • (street name/название улицы) (house number/номер дома) (apartment number /номер квартиры | P.O. Box/абонентский ящик)
  • (organization/организация)
  • (surname/фамилия) (first name/имя) (patronymic/отчество)

(Note: Not every address will include every part.)

Here’s a template for translating the address into English:

  • (surname/фамилия) (first name/имя) (patronymic/отчество)
  • (organization/организация)
  • (street name/название улицы) (house number/номер дома) (apartment number /номер квартиры | P.O. Box/абонентский ящик)
  • (city/название населенного пункта)
  • (district, i.e. area within a major city/район)
  • (republic, territory, region, autonomous district (region)/название республики, края, области, автономного округа (области))
  • (For international mail: country/название страны (для международных почтовых отправлений))
  • (postal code/почтовый индекс)

Proper translation always requires an understanding of the purpose or intent of the translation. If an address is to actually be used for sending mail, then most elements of the address should be transliterated, e.g. ул. (улица) becomes ul. (ulitsa).

Examples of translated addresses

Here are some examples that illustrate the process of translating addresses from Russian to English.

Russian address

Translated address

Россия, 105066, г.Москва
ул. Старая Басманная
д.16 стр. 1а(Note: In this address ‘стр.’ is short for ‘строение’ (building, structure). This implies that are multiple buildings with a single street number. This address is specifically for building 1a.)
ul. Staraya Basmannaya, d. 16, str. 1a
127994, Москва,
ул. Малая Дмитровка, 3/10.(Note: a slash ‘/’ in an address may indicate that the address is at an intersection. The first number, in this case 3, is the street number for the given street, in this case ‘Malaya Dmitrovka’. The second number, in this case 10, is for the cross street.)
ul. Malaya Dmitrovka, 3/10
Санкт Петербург
Василеостровский район, квартал 1, корп.52
kvartal 1, korp. 52
Saint Petersburg
Vasileostrovsky rayon
ул. Ленина, 23-2-239(Note: A dash can be used to separate a street number from a building number and an apartment number. In this case the street number is 23, the building number is 2, and the apartment number is 239.) ul. Lenina, 23-2-239
Ленинградская обл.
Адмиралтейский район
наб. реки Фонтанки, 90
nab. reki Fontanki, 90
Admiraltejsky rayon
Leningradskaya oblast
Санкт-Петербург, В.О., Большой пр., 55-а(Note: ‘В.О.’ here stands for ‘васильевский остров’.) Bolshoy pr., 55-a
Saint Petersburg
Vasilevsky ostrov
Санкт-Петербург, Садовая ул., д. 3/5 Sadovaya ul., d. 3/5
Saint Petersburg
Санкт-Петербург, Колпино г., Культуры ул., д. 8(Note: ‘Колпино’ is a “city within a city”, i.e. it is a municipality of Saint Petersburg.) Kultury ul., d. 8
Saint Petersburg
199106, Санкт-Петербург, В. О., Большой просп., д. 83, оф. 305 Bolshoy prosp., d. 83, of. 305
Saint Petersburg
Vasilevsky ostrov
В.О. 6-ая линия, дом 39 (2-ой двор) 6-aya liniya, dom 39 (2-oy dvor)
Vasilevsky ostrov

If the purpose of the translation is merely to help a foreigner understand the parts of the address, then translating the elements of the address is appropriate and changing their order is not necessary, e.g. the original example provided becomes

Russia, 105066, Moscow
16 Staraya Basmannaya Street, bldg. 1а

Common Russian postal terminology

Here are words and abbreviations you may encounter when translating addresses from Russian to English:

Russian term (and abbreviations)

English term (meaning and transliterations)

(почтовый) абонентский ящик, а/я post office box, P.O Box: a/ya
бульвар, бульв., буль., бул., б-р boulevard: bulvar, bul.
город, г. city: gorod, g.
двор, дв. yard, courtyard: dvor, dv.
деревня, дер., д. village: derevnya, der., d.
дом, д. house, block of apartments/flats: dom, d.
кабинет, каб., к-т, к. office, room: kabinet, kab.
квартал, кварт. кв., кв-л quarter, area, block: kvartal, kvart., kv.
квартира, кварт., кв., квр apartment, flat: kvartira, kv.
корпус, корп., кор. building: korpus, korp. kor.
край, кр. territory: krai
линия, лин. line: liniya, lin.
литера, лит. letter (i.e. of a building): litera, lit.
микрорайон, мкр-н, мкр., мкрн, м/н, м-н, м/р-н, мрн., м-р neighborhood, microdistrict: mikrorajon
мост, м. bridge: most, m.
набережная, наб. embankment: naberezhnaya, nab.
область, обл. region: oblast, obl.
остров, о., о-в island: ostrov, o.
офис, оф. office: ofis, of.
переулок, пер., п., п-к lane: pereulok, per., p.
площадь, пл., п. square: ploshchad, pl., p.
помещение, пом. room, premises: pomeshhenie, pom.
посёлок, пос., п. town: posyolok, pos., p.
проезд, пр., пр-д drive: proezd, pr.
проспект, просп., пр-т avenue: prosekt, prosp.
район, р., р-он district, region: rayon, r.
строение, стр. structure, building: stroenie, str.
тупик, туп. cul-de-sac: tupik, tup.
улица, ул. street: ulitsa, ul.
шоссе, ш. highway: shosse, sh.
этаж, эт. floor: etazh, et.

There are some other considerations for Russian addresses mentioned on Wikipedia.

Please let me know if you were not able to find the postal term you were looking for—or if you have comments or corrections!

Updated 10/24/2011: Added new Russian address word, кабинет

Updated 11/17/2011: Added new Russian address words, литера and помещение