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I am translating a Russian scientific journal article to English and the various online translation services are returning ambiguous translations for one sentence in particular (first page, third paragraph):

В Институте горного дела имени А. А. Скочинского автором были поставлены опыты по исследованию влияния поперечных пульсационных скоростей на распыливание.

Google Translate initially translates this as "The Mining Institute named after A. A. Skochinsky author carried out experiments on the effect of the transverse fluctuating velocities on atomization." (Emphasis is my own, and is the confusing part.) But Google Translate also suggests a possible translation is "At the Mining Institute named after A. A. Skochinsky the author carried out experiments on the effect of the transverse fluctuating velocities on atomization." Does this sentence suggest that the author of the paper I am translating carried out the experiments, or were the experiments conducted by a scientist who worked at the mining institute (and was not necessarily the author of the paper of interest)?

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Second translation is closer to the source. You can easily check yourself by doing following:

1) There is "Институт горного дела имени А. А. Скочинского". Well, we can drop details for a while and say it's just "Институт"

2) We can also skip the part about the experiment (for a while of course, we will put it back later)

Then we will get following sentence:

В Институте автором были поставлены опыты.

The translation is quite obvious:

At (the/an) Institute the author carried out experiments.

Let's now put back details we dropped. "Институт горного дела имени А. А. Скочинского" can be translated using Wikipedia: find article about the Institute in the Russian wiki (here it is), go to english version, and check out its title: "Skochinsky Institute of Mining". The part about the experiment... Not sure the translation is 100% correct, but looks fine.

After assembling things back we will get following:

At Skochinsky Institute of Mining the author carried out experiments on the effect of the transverse fluctuating velocities on atomization.

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It's impossible to say without a further context. Both is possible. If it's a synopsis of the own writer's paper, then the writer made experiments himself. If it's a review of someone other's work, then experiments were made by that other person.

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  • Thanks. The paper is theoretical, and from my partial translation, it appears to use some data from the mentioned experiments to justify the theory. No citation is given, which might suggest to me that this is the first publication of the experimental results (indicating the author conducted them), but the coverage of the experiments is cursory, and the author does not seem to have been affiliated with the institution mention. So, it seems ambiguous to me, and I suppose the only way to know is to find another publication of the mentioned experiments. – Ben Trettel May 8 '16 at 0:03
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    If no other person is mentioned who might be considered as a person who conducted the experiments, then the author of the paper you translate did it himself. It's a kind of scientific Russian style that an author speaks about himself in 3rd person. – Abakan May 8 '16 at 8:45
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    I think this typically Russian self-reference phrase can be softened in translation to 'the writer of these lines', etc. – Alex_ander May 8 '16 at 12:05
  • Okay, that makes sense. I've found a bibliography of related research and am looking through it for other papers by this author, as I'm interested in learning more about the experiments. – Ben Trettel May 8 '16 at 17:25
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автором - by the author

В Институте горного дела имени А. А. Скочинского автором были поставлены опыты по исследованию влияния поперечных пульсационных скоростей на распыливание.

In the A.A. Skochinsky institution of mining works, the author have conducted the experiments relating to researches of impacting transversal impulse speeds over atomization.

the experiments were carried out by the author of the paper.

what made you think that some scientist is conducting the experiments? there is no word indicating that any scientist is present out there. the author have completed these experiments alone. :)

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  • You're right, the interpretation that someone else did the experiments doesn't make sense the most I think about it. I don't know Russian, and Google Translate has produced sentences which seem similarly bad to that which states some unspecified person conducted the experiments. But at least those sentences don't seem ambiguous. – Ben Trettel May 28 '16 at 14:19

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