At present, St Petersburg University holds examinations of proficiency in almost two dozen foreign languages. It should also be noted that the University is the only testing centre in Russia of the Turkish Proficiency Exam (TPE).
Kamilla Alieva fell in love with the Turkish language because of ‘its melody’, then studied it at St Petersburg University (the Department of Turkic Philology) and successfully confirmed her level of proficiency in an exam at the Language Testing Centre.
Could you please tell us why you started to study the Turkish language?
I have always been interested in learning foreign languages and cultures. My interest in the Turkish language began with my trips to Turkey. When I came back, I watched TV series and films in Turkish with subtitles, listened to songs, and did not know the language at all. But I really liked its melody.
Before entering the St Petersburg University programme of ‘Asian and African Studies’, I already understood that the Turkish language in its grammar structure is very different from Russian, English and other Indo-European languages. That is why I decided to study the Turkish language and culture not by myself, but in the academic environment.
Was it difficult to prepare for the exam? And what challenges did you face during testing?
I took the C1 exam - this is an advanced level. I revised for the test by myself and in the shortest possible time. It took me approximately 3 to 4 days. The process was complicated by the fact that I had been given a demonstration version of the test as preparatory materials. But this was not enough for me. I used the textbook Istanbul. Turkish for Foreigners. This helped me structure and organise my knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of the Turkish language. It also helped me form a clear view of the requirements for a written test. And as a result, the test was not very confusing for me.
What goal did you set for yourself when you wanted to take the TPE?
During studying, I already realised that I am interested in translating and interpreting (in particularly, the Turkish – Russian language pair), and I wanted to do it professionally. Nowadays, the presence of an internationally recognised certificate on the level of language proficiency is a significant advantage when you look for a job.
In my opinion, being a translator means not only knowing the language at a very high level, but also being a specialist in history and ethnography of the region under study. This is so because the language is the key to understanding the worldview of another nation.
And when you realise that you can better understand those who are not like you, you become more motivated to learn deeply the language. So, anyone can get the opportunity to broaden the horizons of their consciousness, and help establish communication between people of different cultures. I think it is gorgeous. That is why, I will use my certificate as supportive evidence of my proficiency of the Turkish language.