Kelly Raftery, Custom Russian's founder, has spent all of her adult life studying, speaking and living Russian. She is fluent in Russian, has a working knowledge of German and a smattering of Kyrgyz.

Kelly's educational background includes a B.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago in Russian Literature and Language, a M.A. from University of Michigan in Russian Area Studies and coursework at Indiana University and Leningrad State University.

Kelly began her career working and living in Russia. In her time abroad, she worked with investors, major multinationals, and entrepreneurs in locations from St. Petersburg to Central Asia.  

After spending years as a business development consultant in the former Soviet Union, Kelly transitioned stateside and worked for the U.S. government. More recently, her focus has shifted to translation, teaching and writing. As an adjunct professor at UNLV, she doubled the size of the Russian program and developed a course on Post-Soviet Pop Culture. Kelly worked on translations for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in support of research on Vasily Konovalenko and interprets for the International Rescue Committee. Kelly proudly volunteers for Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, sharing her knowledge of adoptees' home 

Kelly focuses on customized services for her clients, whether they are small business owners or college students. Kelly believes that one size does not fit all and takes pride in developing strong personal and professional relationships focused on client needs.

Custom Russian collaborates closely with Russian native speakers to ensure that clients are giving the best possible solutions for their needs.

Please see the Testimonials page, where clients past and present have given their views on the work that Kelly did for them.

Contact Kelly at for more information.

Custom Russian