There is this book called: город, написанный по памяти

If I keep the comma Google translates it as : memory city.

If I delete the comma it translates it as : city written from memory.

Google translate is a weird beast for sure!

I assume the second version is closer to the real meaning. However I'd like to know for sure what the real meaning is.

  • Why has my question been edited by Quassnoi???? Mar 15, 2019 at 21:44
  • can't you restore your original text? Mar 15, 2019 at 22:20
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    Hi and welcome to Russian.SE! Translation requests to English are off topic for this site, it's about Russian, not English. If you know the meaning of the Russian phrase and you are looking for the best way to convey it in English, I'd suggest you ask it on english.stackexchange.com. But I understand you are really interested in the messaging of the Russian phrase, that's why I edited your question for it to stay on topic. Thanks for using our site!
    – Quassnoi
    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:24

3 Answers 3


In Russian, the verb "писать" oftentimes has the meaning "to paint". Specifically, an artist can "писать по памяти" ("paint from memory)". For this reason, while "писать" in this title certainly means "to write about" or "to describe", a slight connotation to the other meaning, "to paint", is palpable. This connotation would have been absent, had the author used a different prefix ("описанный"). It is the prefix "нa-" which brings up this subtle connotation.

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    Although it sais I should not say 'thank you' in the comment I think Michael´s answer was pretty good and answered my question very well. And as I´m new here and therefore cannot vote... thank you. Mar 18, 2019 at 23:25
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    I think it's important to add that serious painters traditionally prefer to use the word писать instead of рисовать ("draw" as in amateur and simpler works). Since this is a serious book - the word писать implies a serious matter, as if this novel (memoirs) were a large and complex painting.
    – alexsms
    Mar 19, 2019 at 8:44
  • Actually, painted from memory is the only interpretation, because in case of writing you cannot написать город
    – Anixx
    Mar 31, 2019 at 22:41

The second one (that google gives without a comma) is correct.

City written from memory

You were right in your doubt.


This means "city painted from memory".

Написанный город may refer only to painting but if it would be написанный рассказ "written story" it would mean writing.

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