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Native Russian translators have trouble translating one stock phrase which means "a meeting of an administrative body (Parliament, State Council, etc.) conducted not at the body's usual location".

Say, some Council members travel to the Orenburg Region and the President travels to the same location, and there they hold a meeting. The Russian journalistic stock phrase for this is "выездное заседание".

Vyezdnoe is an adjective derived from the verb "vyezshat" = "to depart from somewhere". Zasedanie is meeting. Here's how it is translated on the Russian Presidential website:

Vladimir Putin chaired a visiting meeting of the State Council's presidium

Yet on another page a similar meeting is translated thus:

The NATO-Russia Council’s permanent representatives will hold an away meeting on July 4

Both translations do not seem very idiomatic to me, but I'm not a native speaker of English. How would a native speaker describe such a meeting?

There is an old discussion of the phrase on a translators' forum.

I was translating a news report today and picked one option mentioned in that thread, "out-of-headquarters session". When a news mentions a particular factory, say, one clearly can choose "on-site meeting", but in my short report, there was no mention of the place of meeting at all. This is sometimes a key hurdle when translating "выездное заседание".

Maybe it is prudent in some cases just to drop the phrase, since it is clear that the State Council is not based in the Orenburg Region and that NATO representatives do not usually conduct their meetings in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi - this is not their standard meeting place. But when there is no mention of the meeting place, and the phrase is used merely to indicate that the President and some Parliament members met not in the "default" meeting place, it is not so easy.


P.S. An expression occured to me: "a meeting in departure" - like "a trial in absentia". I know that there is no such expression in English but if it existed it would have been somewhat similar to the Russian original.

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    The first word that came to me is "off-site" (with respect to the usual meeting place/headquarters)... But I don't think it is 'correct'. This question's interesting, will be waiting for great answers. – shin Jun 21 '16 at 6:09
  • I've started a bounty, but will abstain from upvoting to get a clearer picture. Thanks to all the contributors. – CowperKettle Jun 23 '16 at 12:18
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    As a British English speaker I honestly don't think there is a really good direct translation. It's just not an expression I've ever heard around here. Having said that my first instinct, even before reading the other answers, was definitely "...chaired an off-site meeting of..." It's the only phrase which sounds correct to me. As I say though, not an expression I've really heard used. We don't tend to clarify where the meeting is being held, or when we do we clarify to a specific place - "chaired a meeting of ... at the headquarters of the United Nations". I see that in newspaper headlines. – niemiro Jun 23 '16 at 19:02
  • I just thought of a related word - 'summit' - or A conference or meeting of high-level leaders, usually called to shape a program of action. I usually think of a summit as a bunch of leaders in whatever area the summit is about gathering in some nice place to think deep thoughts and discuss difficult decisions. I think of it as away from the normal place of business, even though it isn't exactly defined that way. – ColleenV parted ways Jun 28 '16 at 3:23
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+100

In AmE, we use off-site or offsite to describe a meeting held away from our normal working spaces/office, but we often use it as a noun, not an adjective. For example,

"I won't be able to have lunch with you on Wednesday - our team is having an offsite."

An off-site meeting isn't wrong though, especially in a more formal context (like a news story). When used as an adjective, it can be applied to any activity - off-site development, off-site construction, et. al.

In connection with a meeting, it has a connotation of purposefully choosing not to meet in your typical environment because you either don't want to be distracted from your purpose by mundane work or the meeting is special in some way. There are even businesses that are set up to host off-site meetings, like this one named OFFSITE in New York City.

  • So a parliament can also "meet offsite"? I thought it was a business or industrial expression, because "site" sounded like "production site" to me. Live and learn. – CowperKettle Jun 21 '16 at 18:54
  • I wonder if we can say "Vladimir Putin chaired an offsite meeting of the State Council's presidium" – CowperKettle Jun 21 '16 at 19:04
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    @CowperKettle I would understand offsite meeting the way you've explained it in that context. I'm a little tentative about whether off-site, offsite, or off site (in order of my preference) is the most correct. – ColleenV parted ways Jun 21 '16 at 19:43
  • "...it has a connotation of purposefully choosing not to meet in your typical environment because you either don't want to be distracted from your purpose by mundane work or the meeting is special in some way." Maybe the 'company' has the money to spare too. (+1) – shin Jun 22 '16 at 9:37
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    +1, but I'd quibble that I'm hard-pressed to recall someone saying, "we're having an off-site". I always are almost always here it as an adjective: "We're having an off-site meeting." Maybe it's a regional thing. – Jay Jun 23 '16 at 17:06
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Some further suggestions:

A traveling Council meeting

When it visits more than one place away from its base.

A peripatetic Council meeting

A remote Council meeting

A provincial meeting of the Council

A regional meeting of the council

As well as the previously mentioned "off-site" meeting.

  • Thank you, Brian! Would not "traveling Councl" sound like "traveling Circus" to a native speaker? – CowperKettle Jun 23 '16 at 16:50
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    @CowperKettle Sometimes that is exactly the desired implied semantics for these meetings, which is why the writer choose them! – Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩 Jun 23 '16 at 16:52
  • @CowperKettle better than that, if you put "travelling Russian Council meeting" then the link to Circus would be even stronger... (having seen the Moscow State Circus several times). I wonder if some people confuse the Duma and the Moscow State circus, but that is another kettle of fish (to abuse that analogue..) – Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩 Jun 23 '16 at 17:01
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If the purpose is to be able to conduct a meeting more efficiently by getting away from the distractions of the office, I'd agree with ColleenV's suggestion "off-site meeting".

Meetings held in deliberately remote locations to get away from the distractions of the office and the city are sometimes called "retreats". Like, "Our marketing department is going on a retreat." Usually these involve some kind of "special" meetings, i.e. not conducting normal business, but discussing some big new policy change, educating the employees on some new techniques or procedures, etc.

If the point is that the people of the destination location will be invited to attend the meeting -- whether as participants or just to observe -- it's usually called a "public meeting" or an "open meeting", and then you give some indication of where. Like, "The City Council will be holding a public meeting at the Elm Street Library."

If the point is to meet with some specific group at the destination location, then we typically just say "at" wherever and/or "with" whomever. Like, "The City Council will meet with the Firefighters Union at Foobar Hall." There's no real name for that kind of meeting, the fact that you say who they're meeting with expresses the idea.

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This is in response to a question about off-site as a noun vs an adjective. enter image description here

Also some more off-site variant data. enter image description here

It seems that using off-site as an adjective is the most common construction.

  • Just a quibble, I wouldn't hyphenate it if I were using it as a noun, just when I use it as an adjective. If you remove the hyphen, the noun is more rare, but the difference isn't quite as dramatic (offsite_ADJ,offsite_NOUN). I'm not really clear on how the hyphen impacts the results giving some of the warnings about how the books were processed. – ColleenV parted ways Jul 3 '16 at 13:56
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This sort of meeting is often described as extramural.

From the Latin for outside the walls, an extramural meeting is one that is held away from the usual place.

This adjective is also frequently used for educational activies that take place off the campus of the institution.

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I'm not sure if "visitatorial" (or "visitorial") may be regarded as the best alternative to how "выездное" was translated on the Russian Presidential website"(visiting = paying a visit), but the exact meaning of the two I'm suggesting is "of or relating to an official visitor or visit". Besides, they do not have the connotation mentioned in ColleenV's answer.

"Vladimir Putin chaired a visitatorial (or visitorial) meeting" doesn't sound unnatural or strange to me, and this is how I would translate "Владимир Путин председательствовал на выездном заседании". A native Russian speaker's opinion, though; maybe an English-speaking translator from Russian could think of better determiners. I couldn't so far, but am still trying.

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