Interpreting for Senator Richard Lugar during his meeting with Russian business leaders
Interpreting for Senator Richard Lugar during his meeting with Russian business leaders

Sonia Melnikova-Raich
Downloadable résumé


American Translators Association

Judicial Council of California


Born in Moscow, into a multilingual family of three generations of renowned linguists. Personally trained in English language and translation skills by E. E. Israilevich, one of the founders and professor at the Academy of Foreign Trade of the USSR, the well-known linguist, scholar and author of the first English grammar textbook published in the USSR. Master's degree in architecture. American citizen; living in San Francisco since 1987.


Translation (English into Russian and Russian into English)
Certified translation of documents in compliance with requirements of USCIS, U.S.A. courts, medical boards, schools, colleges, and universities
Interpreting (consecutive, simultaneous, voice-over)
Editing (Russian only)
Localization and Cultural Adjustment
Linguistic Analysis and Research
Cross-cultural Consulting



Twenty five years in translation for a variety of topics for government, corporate, and private clients. Certified translation of academic records and legal and business documents; linguistic analysis of company and product names; localization and cultural adjustment of marketing materials. Published author of literary and legal translations from Russian and English.

Court Interpreting

Twenty years of experience interpreting for depositions, arbitration and trials in criminal and civil courts, including business, intellectual property and real estate disputes, divorce, adoptions, personal injury, workers' compensation. Provided services to The Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration, The London Court of International Arbitration, U.S. Federal Court, Superior Court of California, INS/USCIS, San Francisco District Attorney's and Public Defender's Offices, and major national and international law firms.

Conference & Delegation Interpreting

Classroom interpreter for USAID and USIA educational programs. Delegation interpreter for Russian business leaders in meetings with Secretary of State Colin Powell and members of the U.S. Senate and Congress, including Richard Lugar, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Richard Gephardt, and others. Interpreted for world-famous musician Mstislav Rostropovich, poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and many other high-profile political and cultural figures.

Cross-Cultural Consulting & Facilitation

Program coordinator and group facilitator for educational programs sponsored by USAID and USIA, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Center for International Studies at California State University, Kaiser Permanente International, Asia Foundation, Earth Island Institute, and others.


Department Manager, Translation and Cross-cultural Communication Department for USAID sponsored program providing business management training to new Russian entrepreneurs. Assistant Director for International Programs, Climate of Trust, a Russian-American program for legal professionals and public officials designed to combat hate crime and promote ethnic and religious tolerance.

Legal & History Research

Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice: assisting attorneys and experts in preparing, reviewing and analyzing documents used in investigation and litigation involving the electricity and natural gas market in California. Other projects included assisting in researching and translating into English of a large volume of historical and legal documents concerning the history of foreign concessions in Russia.

Selected Publications

Whence Did It All Come: Two Contracts, Girls in Socks, and the Great Turning Point, in Detroit-Moscow-Detroit: An Architecture for Industrialization, 1917-1945, eds. J-L. Cohen, C.E. Crawford, C. Zimmerman, The MIT Press (2023) (author)

The Soviet Problem with Two ‘Unknowns’: How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia. Part I: Albert Kahn. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, vol. 36 (2), 2010: 57-80 (author)

The Soviet Problem with Two ‘Unknowns’: How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia. Part II: Saul Bron. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, vol. 37 (1/2), 2011: 5-28 (author)

Jewish Artists in the Soviet Non-Conformist Art Movement of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum (author)

Lloyd George, Lenin and Cannibals: The Harriman Arbitration, by V. V. Veeder QC. International Commercial Arbitration, No. 2, 3, Moscow (translation)

Chancellor Wirth and Mologoles Concession, by V. V. Veeder QC. The Herald of International Commercial Arbitration, 1(3), Moscow (translation)

Unexpected Joy, by Bulat Okudjava. ICARUS, Rosen Publishing, New York (translation)

Forbidden Fruit, by Fazil Iskander. TWO LINES 2000, San Francisco (translation)

Little Soldier, by Chingiz Aitmatov. Formations, Northwestern Univ. Press (translation)

The Myth of Pavlik Morozov, by Yury Druzhnikov. ICARUS, Rosen Publishing, New York (translation)

End of Empire: New Works from the Former Soviet Union. Rosen Publishing, New York (editor)

(See Sample Translations for complete list.)


American Translators Association (ATA)

Center for Art of Translation, San Francisco (CAT)

Certified Russian translation by a Certified Russian Translator: Sonia Melnikova-Raich is a Russian-English translator certified by American Translators Association (ATA). She is a certified Russian translator, certified Russian interpreter, certified court interpreter, Russian court interpreter certified by the State of California and Judicial Council of California, and a federal court interpreter. She has twenty years experience with expertise in legal translation, business translation, real estate translation, health care translation, medical translation, education translation, environment translation, communication translation, social services translation, social science translation, marketing and advertising translation and cultural adjustment, religion translation, art, film and video translation, architecture translation, and literary translation from Russian into English and from English into Russian. She works as a court interpreter for Superior Court of California, US Federal Court, USCIS (INS), Workers Compensation Board, and interprets for depositions, arbitration, trials, immigration and political asylum interviews, business meetings, and conferences. She provides certified translation of diplomas, academic transcripts, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, adoption papers, immigration documents, business contracts, immunization records, and other legal documents in compliance with requirements of the USCIS (INS), US courts, credentials evaluation services, medical boards, boards of registered nursing, American colleges and universities. She can also provide a certificate of translation (affidavit of translation or affidavit of translation accuracy), and notarized translation, if needed. She translates from English into Russian and from Russian into English. She interprets English to Russian and Russian to English, performing consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, sight interpreting, and voice over. Other services include linguistic analysis of company and product names, localization and cultural adjustment, Russian-American cross-cultural communication, cultural sensitivity training, and cross-cultural conflict resolution.