In a small room with two desks and three chairs it is surprisingly easy to lose Ismayil Kadyrov. But he’s there, behind a tall pile of papers, correcting another document translated from Russian to Kyrgyz. “At every step I come across incorrectly translated documents,” he says. “We don’t have enough time, we work days and nights!” Pointing at a paper covered in red ink marks, he sighs. “I’ve seen worse.”
Kadyrov’s job is to edit all the Kyrgyz-language documents arriving at government headquarters from Kyrgyzstan’s various ministries and state agencies. “Incompetent translations” from Russian into Kyrgyz are the rule rather than the exception, he says.
A draft bill that would make Kadyrov’s job harder, requiring all government documents appear only in Kyrgyz, is up for a vote on its second reading in Kyrgyzstan’s parliament on March 28. (All legislation must pass three readings before it heads to the president to be signed into law. The first reading passed 84 to 12 in December.)
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Asel Kalybekova is a freelance reporter based in Kyrgyzstan.