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Thread poster: Connor
Connor  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:49
French to English
Aug 16, 2005

I spend a lot of time in restaurants - a sort of vocational / dedicated approach to translating menus... over time I have collected a few tasty translations, two examples:
My favourite...
(Restaurant in Tignes)
Profiteroles: choux à la crème nappés de chocolat = Profiteroles: cabbages and cream with a chocolate tablecloth!!! (translated by the owner's 13 year old niece armed with a dictionary and very little else).
(Montpellier airport)
Loup de mer = sea wolf !!! (translated by a 'stagiaire' - correction of this menu, which had a few other howlers in it, got me a free meal).

I have lots of these (ENGLISH-FRENCH) and would be happy to share...

[Edited at 2005-08-16 11:33]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 08:49
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Yum! Please do share! Aug 16, 2005

And also share your method for obtaining free food from these howlers! I'm thinking of a missed opportunity during a trip to Barcelona where I could have eaten for free the entire time!

Nancy


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:49
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
From Italian... Aug 16, 2005

Can't remember where, but I saw "Pasta con le sarde" (pasta with sardines) translated as "Pasta with the Sardinians". Quite tasty!
Catherine


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:49
Member (2003)
German to English
We got a chuckle from Aug 16, 2005

at a well-known steakhouse chain whose menu included "all steaks served with vegetarian of choice." Yummy!

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:49
Member
French to English
+ ...
Cordon blue? Aug 16, 2005

Had a good laugh at one restaurant that served a starter '...with assorted crudities" --- I was just DYING to order it and find out what expletives I would get

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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:49
French to English
+ ...
please post more Aug 16, 2005

I have seen so many over the years, it's a shame I didn't write them down - but the profiterolles one(cabbage and tablecloth)is really one to remember)

That's my all-time favorite dessert.

We should all remember the level of service one can get for free (next time we ask for free legal advice!)

Thanks Connor


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Victor Potapov
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:49
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes - and in my mind it's a good business idea (quality menu translations) Aug 16, 2005

I agree 100% - these are absolutely wonderful for people who know both languages but are a puzzle with no solution for other people who know only the target language - they cannot see "where this came from".

I am a regular reader of English-language menus in restaurants in Moscow and in the Russian provinces. I agree - it never fails to impress and always gives you a laugh or two...

And it's not only in Russia (or France, or Turkey, or Poland, or Mexico - countries I visited and remember as having the highest number of those "lingvo-culinary" oddities on the menu). For instance, this July in Switzerland, in Geneve, in a posh Cafe du Centre (serving sea food) shrimp and king prawns were named some absolutely inane names - I only recognized those as I know some French, to say nothing of the "boulots" and "escargots"...

I regret not keeping a collection of those "pearls"... but it's never too late to start keeping it!

Another factor in addition to the free meal: just think about the investment these restaurant owners make - it's in the high tens and low hundreds of thousands... yet they skimp on a $100-$200 job - and bingo, they are the laughing stock of tourists, tourists take photos of their menus etc...

I believe there is a lot of business potential to us as language service providers - we can help these restaurant owners to actually earn more from the tourists/foreigners... And my gut feeling is at good prices this will cost more than the free meal!

The only word of caution - to make this proposal ("we'll help you earn more through good presentation of your restaurant") the skills must be absolutely brilliant and the end product - top-notch.

But I hope that some day my business card will be saying not only "financial and legal" but also "culinary and gastronomic translations". OK, maybe I will need two sets of business cards - just to avoid creating mixed first impressions...



Connor wrote:
I have lots of these (ENGLISH-FRENCH) and would be happy to share...


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Sheila Hardie  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:49
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Yet another one... Aug 16, 2005

I saw a really funny one a few years ago in Andorra. The English version of the menu offered the unsuspecting guests 'Rape Seamen Style' As some of you might have guessed - the original version was 'Rape a la Marinera' - 'Rape' being the Spanish for monkfish!!!


Sheila


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Latvian to English
+ ...
Sad, but true. Aug 16, 2005

My all-time favourite is from a cafe here in Riga, offering a number of appetising items such as 'cancer salad' (in Latvian - the word 'vçzis' means both shrimp and cancer) and a mouthwatering 'ovum salad' (obviously meant to be egg salad).






[Edited at 2005-08-16 19:44]


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Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
Liberate all vegetables! Aug 17, 2005

"Potato Free" is what I like! That's how French Fries was interpreted in a restaurant in Kazakhstan. Obviously, in Russian it is "êàðòîôåëü ôðè".

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:49
Member
French to English
+ ...
I've found this to be true, up to a point... Aug 17, 2005

Victor Potapov wrote:
...I believe there is a lot of business potential to us as language service providers - we can help these restaurant owners to actually earn more from the tourists/foreigners...


I've tried, and to some extent failed, to convert this idea into reality; the trouble is, one only comes along AFTER the menus have been printed, and most restaurateurs I've come across just shrug their shoulders and say "It's too late now, we're not going to pay to have them re-printed, but next time we'll call you" --- only they never do!

With one local hotelier who changes his menus quite frequently, I have an arrangement whereby he passes the text to me before printing out, and that way we avoid mistakes; in return, I get (a few) free meals every year.

One of the troubles I find is that a word count is of little use, as the amount of work potentially involved in research etc. largely outweighs the small volume of most menus. Clearly, a 'fixed price' approach is probably more appropriate, but in the end, I still favour the 'barter' idea.

Back to the funnies, and I think we could also invent a few that we'd like to have seen; I've always hoped for 'choux farci' translated as 'farcical cabbage' --- well, they are pretty comical things, you have to admit


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:49
Member
French to English
+ ...
Give me the address...! Aug 17, 2005

Sheila Hardie wrote:
I saw a really funny one a few years ago in Andorra. The English version of the menu offered the unsuspecting guests 'Rape Seamen Style'


I can't wait! Please send me the address...

[Edited at 2005-08-17 20:27]


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 14:49
a few more French delicacies Aug 17, 2005

From France, one the same menu:

"Barrister and its shrimps" (avocat)
"Fish nets" (filets)
"Sauerkraut and its even of sausage" (paire)
and for dessert, what else but "Chocolate moss"


bon appétit!
dominique


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:49
Italian to English
+ ...
I've often thought about dropping my business card off at restaurants Aug 25, 2005

- but perhaps the direct barter system is an even better idea. I shall try it out next time! The good thing is that you can probably translate/revise the menu on the spot (assuming it doesn't run to hundreds of pages!) and the restaurateur can just keep it until the next time the menus have to be reprinted. I'd also imagine they'd be more inclined to offer a meal in return for the job than fork out cash.

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juhamatti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:49
French to Finnish
+ ...
Amuses-gueules à la serbe Aug 26, 2005

I was visiting Serbia with a friend of mine some weeks ago.
In Novi Sad we found a nice restaurant with good food and a somewhat perplexing menu.

We were suggested e.g. "violence drinks" (spirits), "'nature' steak", "overdone pancakes" and "basic crepes stuffed with eurocream and plazma".

"Plazma" turned out to be a biscuit brand alright but "eurocream" remains a mystery.

Juhamatti


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