7 Handy Russian Phrasebooks to Help You in a Pinch

Are you all set for your trip to Russia? 

Reading Russian learning books can help prevent you from making awkward gaffes, but sometimes you need more immediate assistance.

You’ll need quick access to basic Russian travel phrases, vocabulary to help you order food in Russian or even some expressions to add color to your conversation.

Luckily, if you need the best Russian phrases at your fingertips, there’s an option for you: Russian phrasebooks.


Why Use a Russian Phrasebook?

Russian phrasebooks offer useful phrases you’ll actually use. They’re designed to focus primarily on common phrases, so rather than spending time on awkward (and unnatural) sentences to memorize vocabulary and learn grammar rules, a phrasebook allows you to just focus on the phrases you’ll need to communicate clearly.

Additionally, Russian phrasebooks make it easy to find appropriate phrases quickly. When you need to find a bathroom, you don’t want to thumb through a dictionary to find individual words. Since phrasebooks are grouped thematically, you’ll usually just need to flip to the right section and the phrase you need will be right there waiting for you.

Plus, Russian phrasebooks allow you to communicate clearly with minimal effort. Phrasebooks require only a little bit of language experience and provide clear phrases with pronunciation guides. This makes it easy for anyone to communicate in Russian!

Learning from a phrasebook can thus enable a language learning revolving around essentials. For long-term learning, you should try to round out your studies with a language learning program that’s based on immersion and authentic content. FluentU, for example, is based on videos made by and for native Russian speakers.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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When you’re wandering Moscow and in need of a quick assistance, though? That’s a job for a phrasebook. 

7 Handy Russian Phrasebooks to Help You in a Pinch

“Russian at a Glance”

Russian at a Glance (Barron's Foreign Language Guides)

If you’re looking for a colorful companion, “Russian at a Glance” is a good option.

That’s because this phrasebook uses color-coded chapters to make it even easier to flip between sections. Plus, it’s pocket-sized, making it easy to use on the go.

It’s part of the Barron’s series, which is perennially popular with language learners.

The phrasebook offers over 1500 phrases, while the bilingual dictionary component of the book contains 2000 words. These phrases are primarily designed for travelers, covering common themes like emergencies, airports, checking in at a hotel, exchanging currency, eating out, shopping and so much more.

Each phrase includes the English phrase, the Russian translation and a phonetic pronunciation. This way, you can pronounce words and phrases whether you’ve learned the Russian alphabet or not.

If you’re a beginner and want to learn the language a little better, there’s also a pronunciation guide that will introduce you to Russian letters, stress and pronunciation. A brief grammar guide will also teach you some of the ground rules of the language.

Since this phrasebook is meant for travelers, there are a few additional features specifically for them, such as maps and travel tips.

“Rough Guide Russian Phrasebook”

Rough Guide Russian Phrasebook (Rough Guide Phrasebooks)

Need more words and phrases than the average phrasebook can provide? “Rough Guide Russian Phrasebook” goes above and beyond.

With over 5000 words and phrases, you’ll always have plenty of options to communicate your ideas. Each word or phrase is accompanied by the English version, the Russian translation and a phonetic pronunciation.

When you purchase the phrasebook, you also get a free audio download with pronunciation guidance.

“Rough Guide Russian Phrasebook” is chock full of colorful pictures, making it enjoyable to peruse at your leisure. However, it’s also color-coded and laid out well to make it easy to use as a quick reference.

In addition to serving as a phrasebook, “Rough Guide Russian Phrasebook” provides a bilingual dictionary, a food and drink guide and travel tips.

While major retailers no longer sell this book, there are still plenty of affordable copies available through resellers, or you can download it on Google Play.

“Easy Russian Phrase Book”

Easy Russian Phrase Book NEW EDITION: Over 700 Phrases for Everyday Use (Dover Language Guides Russian)

If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with this super affordable phrasebook from Dover Language Guides.

The phrasebook has over 700 useful phrases covering common topics like shopping, transportation, dining, medicine and more. Each entry includes the English word/phrase, the Russian word/phrase and a phonetic pronunciation.

For beginners, a pronunciation guide with an introduction to the Russian alphabet will help you hit the ground running.

“Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook & Dictionary”

Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook & Dictionary

With Lonely Planet’s Russian phrasebook, you’ll never have to be lonely again.

Given that this book is from the acclaimed travel guide series “Lonely Planet,” it should come as no surprise that this phrasebook is designed with travelers in mind. Topics include numbers, transportation, eating out, emergencies and other common themes. However, there are also some more specific categories, like “senior & disabled travelers,” “travel with children” and “vegetarian & special meals.”

Each phrasebook entry includes the English phrase, the Russian equivalent, the literal translation and the phonetic pronunciation.

The phrasebook includes a 3500 word dictionary, tips on culture and manners, a menu decoder and more. Grammar and pronunciation guides also help beginners get a hang of the language. Infographics provide some fun facts about the Russian language that you might want to memorize for trivia night.

“Dirty Russian”

Dirty Russian: Everyday Slang from (Dirty Everyday Slang)

If you’re more interested in cool slang than useful travel phrases, “Dirty Russian” has you covered.

Sure, “Dirty Russian” contains some common words or phrases that you’re bound to hear, but what sets it apart is that it also focuses on informal phrases you won’t find in other phrasebooks.

These include insults, swear words, sex terms and slang. But be careful! You don’t want to just go tossing these words and phrases around haphazardly. (Think of this as a guide to terminology you want to be able to understand and identify until you get more comfortable with it.)

Each entry contains the English word/phrase, a phonetic Russian pronunciation, the Russian word/phrase and usage information (if clarification is needed).

If you’re a beginner, there’s also a brief pronunciation guide and some information about gendered words.

5000 Phrases

Available: iOS | Android

When you don’t have the pocket space for a hard copy of a phrasebook, an app like 5000 Phrases will pack the information you need onto your favorite mobile device.

5000 Phrases offers (you guessed it) 5000 Russian phrases. Like a conventional phrasebook, 5000 Phrases offers English phrases and their Russian equivalents. However, unlike a conventional phrasebook, each phrase is also accompanied by an audio pronunciation, making it easy to nail down the phrase you’re looking for. If you’re not comfortable saying it, you could even just play the phrase for whoever you’re speaking to.

The phrasebook is broken down into 20 categories, which break down into a total of 145 subtopics. This makes it easy to find what you’re looking for in a few swift clicks. You can also use the search feature to find the phrase you’re looking for.

But 5000 Phrases is more than a phrasebook. If you have a little extra time, you can even play 11 learning games.

Additionally, you can use the phrasebook offline—perfect for avoiding roaming charges while you travel.

Russian Phrasebook

Available: iOS | Android

When you need a phrasebook with lots of options, Russian Phrasebook will be there for you.

That’s because Russian Phrasebook offers a number of flexible features you won’t find in other phrasebooks. For instance, you can choose between formal and informal language, and you can choose between audio by a female speaker or audio by a male speaker.

Plus, Russian Phrasebook contains over 3500 words and phrases with all the bells and whistles, like audio pronunciation of the Russian phrase and the phonetic pronunciation of the Russian phrase.

Travel-friendly categories include food and drink, emergency, people and more. Plus, a search feature allows you to find the phrase you’re looking for in a flash. You can also use Russian Phrasebook offline.


So if you need to be ready to deploy the right Russian phrase at a moment’s notice, look no further than these seven handy Russian phrasebooks!

And One More Thing...

If you love learning Russian and want to immerse yourself with authentic materials from Russia, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.

FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning the Russian language and culture. You'll learn real Russian as it's spoken by real Russian people!

FluentU has a very broad range of contemporary videos. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of Russian-language content available on FluentU:


FluentU makes these native Russian videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab. Easily review words and phrases with audio under Vocab.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Russian learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.

And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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