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Restaurant menus - anyone with any experience?
Thread poster: Ian Ferguson
Ian Ferguson
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:46
Spanish to English
Nov 27, 2001

Any English-speaking person who has been on holiday in Spain must have laughed at some of the translations on multi-lingual restaurant menus. It occurs to me that this could be a good market for a translator, or do most restaurant proprietors take the attitude that so long as the tourists come in and spend their money, who cares if they laugh at the English on the menu?



I\'d be interested to hear from anyone with experience in this field, or any suggestions on how to market such a service on-line, short of trying to contact every restaurant in Spain!
[addsig]


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Alison Schwitzgebel
Germany
Local time: 13:46
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
You get the same bad translations in Germany too.... Nov 27, 2001

We live in a very picturesque (and thus tourist-ridden!) part of Germany. Since moving here in April we\'ve eaten out a few times in local restaurants, and I\'ve always managed to have a word in the manager\'s ear about menu translations.



The outcome: several first-rate free meals and some very nice leads on other tourism-related translations.



I wouldn\'t rely on it to make my living from, but it\'s certainly good for a slap-up night out!!!


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Claudia Esteve  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
that's right! Nov 27, 2001

Ian, you\'re definitely right. I\'ve gotten some good laughs out of reading translated menus. I guess you\'re on the right track: there must be some market for it. However, I find that small restaurants have overheads so large that translating a menu isn\'t one of their priorities. Anyway, why don\'t you try the big guys such as Vips for example and sell them the service?

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Natasha Stoyanova  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
Member (2002)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Not only in Spain Nov 27, 2001

I think the same is the situation anywhere with the bilingual restaurant\'s menu.

I saw many lingvo-lapsuses in my language pairs, caused by the word-for-word translation.

One of the reasons is that many names of the dishes comes from French, and this required special attention in spelling.

Each national cuisine have own special dishes and names, and more of them are \"untranslatable\" and requires explanation.

May be if native speakers from different countries will give the examples of the most famous national dishes, it\'ll help.



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Giuseppina Vecchia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:46
English to Italian
+ ...
...and in Italy too Nov 28, 2001

Quote:


...we\'ve eaten out a few times in local restaurants, and I\'ve always managed to have a word in the manager\'s ear about menu translations.



The outcome: several first-rate free meals and some very nice leads on other tourism-related translations.







You should read the menus here, a verrrrry famous tourist resort near Venice! I tried to drop a word, as you say, but I am afraid the outcome was quite different: no correction was made, so tourist (English, French and I suppose German) go on laughing at us.

And I do not really think it is just a matter of money, I never asked one Lira. It looks more like laziness, or even mistrust I\'d say. Most of the people in the hotel and tourist Industry think that, since they have the money, they know better. I was told once: we don\'t need translators, anyone can do the job, just any dictionary will do.



Josie
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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
French to English
How much to charge? Nov 28, 2001

Translating a menu is quite hard. Finding the rights terms takes time and time is money.



The text of menus is generally made up of a series of terms which sometimes have equivalents in other languages, but not always. If you are to represent the original in such a way as the translated version can be understood - with a zero laughs factor - then you have to get it right. That goes without saying, but bear in mind the following. You cannot necessarily play around with an adjective later on in the sentence and turn it into a noun (or vice versa) to make your version sound right as you can with prose. Menus don\'t usually contain that sort of \"padding\".



If you charge per word you will find that a short menu comprising few words may pay a pittance. You will probably need to take a time factor into account too.



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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:46
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
this thread maybe long dead... but here's a tip Apr 14, 2002

(quick translation of Dutch)



Bovenkamer Producties BV is looking for

Free Lance translator of culinairy texts



See our site: www.menutext.nl



Translation menu\'s and other culinairy text from to English/ German/French/ Spanish and Italian



You must be native speaker, and the rest of the details are on our site



Address:

Bovenkamer Producties BV, K.W. Boulevard 6-B, 2202 GR Noordwijk. The Netherlands

Telephone: 071 3623870 Fax: 071 3623871

Contactperson: Mr. Johan Verduijn



Vacature date: 24-02-2002







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MIGUEL JIMENEZ  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish Menus Apr 15, 2002

Hi,

I was born in the South of Spain, and studied translation there... yes, we covered \"Culinary\" translation in our syllabus, with pleny of \"local\" case studies to check... and some of the errors were awful... most people must not be willing to eat such \"delicatessen\". But oh well, the problem in Spain has to do with the fact that most translations are done by \"High School English Students\". We would need to change small business mentality in my country to improve on that, but not may will be ready to pay \"68 €\" to have their menus translated.



I have helped some restaurants from time to time...



I currently live in the States and often eat carne \"azada\" in a restaurant that offers \"Barieda de Tacos\" (for the Spanish speakers



Regards,



MIGUEL


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MIGUEL JIMENEZ  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish Menus Apr 15, 2002

Hi,

I was born in the South of Spain, and studied translation there... yes, we covered \"Culinary\" translation in our syllabus, with pleny of \"local\" case studies to check... and some of the errors were awful... most people must not be willing to eat such \"delicatessen\". But oh well, the problem in Spain has to do with the fact that most translations are done by \"High School English Students\". We would need to change small business mentality in my country to improve on that, but not may will be ready to pay \"68 €\" to have their menus translated.



I have helped some restaurants from time to time...



I currently live in the States and often eat carne \"azada\" in a restaurant that offers \"Barieda de Tacos\" (for the Spanish speakers



Regards,



MIGUEL
[addsig]


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xxxAnneM  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
backpack and portable Apr 15, 2002

I had an idea once to give up everything and travel around Spain with a portable and a backpack and live off translating restaurant and hotel menus and leaflets. ie. I\'ll correct your menu and you give me free lunch and dinner (or a bed) for X days. With the number of terrible translations out there I figure I could have lasted a couple of years

Needless to say, it was a fleeting idea.

The worst and funniest translation I have ever seen on a menu was in a restaurant in Sitges. Rape a la marinera - yes, Rape fishermen\'s style (does it involve nets?? ?

As for your question Ian, I don\'t think there\'s any easy way short of contacting the restaurants. If someone is capable of such a badly translated menu, they\'re not going to go out of their way to actually look for a service specialising in this, are they?

So, out with your backpack and portable...



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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:46
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I can't resist it Apr 15, 2002

I simply have to share. A few months ago, proZ member Joaquín M. sent me this:



THE CASA GALLEGA

Spanish Covers (tapas)





FOOD / DRINK SPECIALITIES



Octopus To The Party (pulpo a feira)

Courageous Potatoes (patatas bravas)

Huge Hair Spray With Grelos (lacón con grelos)

Canes & little Ones (Cañas y chiquitos)

Drink from the Boot and the big Joint (Beba en bota y en porrón)

Thin Uncle Joseph (Fino Tío Pepe) & Thin Fifth (Fino Quinta)

They will pash from Navarra (Pacharán de Navarra)

Wines from the River Ha and the Valley of Rocks (Vinos de Rioja y Valdepeñas)





TODAY´S MENU



Female Jews with Thief (Judías con chorizo)

Pretty to the Iron (Bonito a la Plancha)





SPECIAL OPENING PROMOTION



One mug of bleeding if you buy a Little Joseph of Veal (Una Jarra de sangría al pedir un Pepito de Ternera)





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