<< big snip of yet more meaningless Russian, I won’t try that again >>
First, thanks for trying! Unfortunately the computer interpreter tends to produce translations which can be hard to understand even for a native speaker. That’s why I write in English and suggest English as official language of the discussion. Russian is welcome too as part of the style, and native Russians are welcome to converse in Russian but the all decisions obviously have to be clear for the developers. What do you guys think?
My first suggestion is to change the topic to “ÐÐµÑƒÐ´Ð°Ñ‡Ð½Ñ‹Ð¹ Ñ€ÑƒÑÑÐºÐ¸Ð¹ Ð¿ÐµÑ€ÐµÐ²Ð¾Ð´”, because the current one has the meaning far from intended
Ok, the discussion I’d like to have here if anyone has a view is the Russian on Olga.
Firstly, let me make it very clear that we are well aware of the wrongness, its entirely intentional and Alex the translator’s brief was to make it like that. Humour is a matter of perspective, however, and not speaking Russian makes our opinion pretty much worthless, so I place this in the hands of native Russian speakers. It was a reaction to the casual and unthinking pillaging of Russian/Soviet iconography over here in theme bars and so on; cover everything in red stars, turn all the Rs backwards, chuck in a few army surplus bits and pieces, essentially boiling down a whole visual culture into a lazy thematic parody, almost as if its ‘SovietLand’ at Disney World*. Pfft. Its seems to be a common mindlessness, there was a recent trend for people getting Chinese/Japanese/both(!) characters tattooed on them, frequently meaning nothing like what they thought they did; very funny! So, we wanted to make Olga look, superficially, utterly accurate; but actually be a load of nonsense. Very funny we thought, some of you think otherwise. Well, please speak up, if it needs changing then so be it.
Its wrong - known. It doesn’t actually let you work out what the controls do - yes/no? Its funny yes/no?
The legending of the controls is one thing, the actual Olga text is another. IMO that shouldn’t be touched, its staggering level of wrongness, I would suggest, should make out intent clear to all but the most humourless. This synth’s got a duck on it! More importantly, its now the way Olga is written as a logo. I really really really wouldn’t want to touch that unless violently beaten over the head with overwhelming public opinion that its utterly unacceptable.
*This place has toned it down lately, but I suspect it may still make you roll your eyes in dispair
I will reiterate publicly my opinion here.
After a look on the Olga’s web the first question (especially of a native Russian) is: Why is Ð¤Ð“Ð‘Ð” called Olga, and if it’s called Olga why Ð¤Ð“Ð‘Ð”? In Russian there is no any associative links between these too at all, humorous or not. I’m not in position here to define the product naming policy of course, but it’s the confusing situation you’re gonna live with for the whole Olga’s life.
The current legending is indeed nonsense, funny or not it’s the matter of preference. My point is that it is totally useless. What’s the point to spend a lot of effort to make it if it will be slapped over by English labels and never seen again? Now imagine meaningful labels in Russian. The first thought that comes to a Russian mind: “Cool! I can actually use them!” The second is “How good it is to have Russian labels on synth for a change”. And perhaps the third “Now my English speaking friends/rivals will have hard time to guess what I’m doing!”. English speaking users will have a chance to learn Russian abbreviations (do you see the educational purpose? ) Anyway I leave the choice between nonsense and coolness to you. (Just remember, nonsense does not appeal to Russian mindset, coolness does )
After reading through this discussion, and having a consequent think, i’d like to offer the following.
My modest role in this was to provide some suggestions for an ‘english’ perspective, of a parodical, ‘some might say soviet’ western view of what a soviet electronic instrument might be like. And that’s the direction i approached this from, not a real and fervent attempt to plant ‘western’ humour among Russians, and expect them all to embrace the nonsensical tone. I live here in Moscow, and have learnt enough of russians to known they have another view of what denotes humour. A view, to some degree, that i share. Russian humour, in my humble opinion, is unique, often highly intelligent, often subtle, and in it’s own way, as nonsensical as what may seem somewhat infamous, British humour. There is a wonderful ‘pythonesque’ feel to Russian humour that appeals to me, but may not appeal to others, in the same way thatJohn Cleese and the team weren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But in the same breath, Russian humour CAN be obvious too, especially when it’s trying to be cool. So where’s the line? How much of nonsensical can anyone take? And maybe that’s the point here, even across languages and cultures, one man’s onion is another man’s potato. I profess no great knowledge of russian humour, just my recent experience, but i have chatted with colleagues about this at some length, and there seems to be a general consensus that nonsensical is good in moderate doses (The same for britain, i note here), and the degree of nonsensical that one can get away with is highly dependent, quite obviously, on the audience, and their own persective of how far is too far. There’s a show on Russian TV run by a rather famous russian comedian called Evgeni Petrosyan called ‘Curved Mirror’, which seems to cover pretty well every type of humour from the subtle to the clumsily obvious, and is very popular.
Yet another famous comedian, Michael Zadornov, who is incredibly clever in his humorous offerings, often mispronounces words to imply one thing from another. (something, as a very poor russian speaker, i have had the experience of doing, as my clumsy pronunciation has produced many a humorous moment with colleagues and people i’ve just met. To their credit, Russians in general, are an intelligent, warm, and friendly people, and our shared laughter at my clumsy attempts to wind my miserable latin tongue around this complex and expressive language, has led to many a new friendship. A worthy sacrifice then. )
Michael, i consulted with colleagues here who saw the attempt at humour as just that, an attempt. As most of them have travelled to the ‘west’ in one guise or another, they have an understanding of what one might denote as ‘western humour’ ,and in the case of Olga and Oligarc, most of them saw the absurdity as humour, and little more. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but hey, that’s life, and none of them seemed mortally offended, or thought the clumsy ‘non russian’ russian names were any more than a bit of harmless fun from another viewpoint.
You also raise an interesting point about russians liking cool in their humour. There’s quite a bit of humour on TV here that seems to be popular that is anything but cool, but delightful in itself for it’s pythonesque absurdity.
I do however, on reflection, think you’ve made a good point about the legending on the instruments themselves, and as a practical reality of everyday use, respectfully suggest to the excellent team who have built these fine instruments, that they consider a small change to a more practical legending so the musician doesn’t have to take an extra mental leap when he’s deep in the bowels of a great solo, or stoking the multitudes into a frenzy.
So while i’m still not sure of your definition of russian humour as cool, given my own experiences here with russian people from many walks of life, with their own perception of what is ‘humour’, or ‘cool’ for that matter, i can see the value in a more realistic legending.
From a ‘western’ perspective, i think the team have grasped a wonderful absurdity reminiscent of the finest of british and some american humour, in the names and initials they’ve chosen for these fine instruments, so maybe continue a balance of western absurdity in the instrument names and acronym, and introducing russian cool in the legending may indeed serve to provide more for everyone.
And of course there is the delight of any resulting passionate discussion that may stem from this.
Just two roubles worth,
Nice to meet you here! I live in the US, but I’m a born Russian and I lived in Moscow for 30 years of my life. You made some good points about the Russian humor but I’d like to offer you a more general perspective. Let’s take the two comedians you mentioned. All (Russian) people I know consider Petrosyan a stupid moron, who doesn’t know shit about good humor and takes all his lines from anekdot.ru for the last several years. I remember him 15 years ago, when some good writers wrote for him and it was good. 10 years ago they dumped him and he began to stink. Zadornov was good in the nineties, when he shared his experience of being abroad at the time when very few could do it. It was exciting, it was funny and he actually gave some useful information about the life abroad. The word play he used then was funny. I remember I had 3 audiocassettes with him in Moscow in 1994. Time passed, he lost his advantage of traveling abroad more than anyone else, the word play became notorious and finally obnoxious. Yes, people still laugh. My point is that they are different people, not those in the nineties. Humor is a very contextual product, you cannot expect it to work everywhere for everyone at any time.
I already mentioned it in the private correspondence, but the fact that the “Russian” names of Olga and Oligarc appear to be visually associated with their English counterparts was a revelation to me. On the second look I agreed, there is some funny similarity. But the name is just a name, however the labels on controls are much more critical in everyday work.
I’m not saying that Russian humor is cool (actually it sounds very dumb for me for the most part), but only that coolness attracts for a longer time. As for TV humor, don’t be fooled by popularity. The gladiator’s fights were extremely popular in ancient Rome too. The funny part will pass quickly, the cool part will last longer for a Russian. So from a marketing standpoint coolness makes more sense. Watch Russian TV ads and you will see the sublime text: “Our products are cool, you’ll be better than others using our products” almost in every one. Watch an American TV ad: “Using our products will make your life better”.
My two kopecks.
Not reading through the whole post (so I might be a bit off topic) I just want to say what I think the whole concept of “yeh, let’s make the user twist the damn knobs instead of him/her loading presets” is so brilliant (yet so simple).
I feel that spirit run through all of the people involved in these plugs and I can’t tell you how thrilled that it is that way.
The great humor (never laughed so much when I’ve read a manual or the description of a plug =p) and great mentality and the realization of the world we live in (the whole mentality behind “Is Olga free?” in the FAQ) is what makes me and many people I know buy your amazing plugs (and perfectly priced too ;p), just to support that. Then the fact that we get some of the best plugs I’ve heard (and let’s not forget, BEST-looking!!!) is just mind-boggling.
Keep this spirit alive, you are a role-model for all of the other companies out there!
Can’t thank you enough, and I’ll never forget the day I found your site.
(I’ll buy pretty much ALL of your plugs when I can afford it, one by one)
Best regards from Sweden
Very nice to hear that Sir, and thanks so much for letting us know! Some people don’t like our humour, would you believe?
Well, then there is not so much to like about their sense of humour. Simple equation
Some time ago I did an interview with Will Gregory of Goldfrapp (I’m a journalist in daytime) and he said that the best thing he likes about his Soviet-made Polyvoks synth is that he can’t figure what knob does what, as he doesn’t know any Russian. So it’s all about chance and experiment. That’s what I like about OLGA, as, even being a native Russian speaker, I can hardly figure out what’s what (ok, there’s the magic ‘white tie’ button, but I prefer not to overuse it )
I think this ‘Russian’ gimmick is good fun, really Pythonesque (they used mock Hungarian though, if my memory serves me well)
PS: But Petrosyan is actually a moron – believe my word, as I have been unlucky enough to talk with the big daddy of Russian standup, too. And no, he don’t have no Polyvoks