8 Menu Translations With Unappetizing Results

One of the many industries for which we provide translation is the restaurant industry. It’s a tricky field to work in, but our professional translators are up to the task. You might be surprised to learn that not all dishes on a menu actually have a direct translation. Without a translator’s professional culinary knowledge and experience, your dish might have a surprising name.

Fun Food Fails

Travel + Leisure believes that “one of the best ways to experience a culture when you’re traveling is to eat in the mom-and-pop, hole-in-wall restaurants, where you can be served the most authentic local cuisine.” They also warn that you might find “some of the funniest, most charming, or downright confusing culinary descriptions” for your meal.

It’s easy to see how the translations can change when taken literally. One Chinese menu described one of their signature dishes as not ordinary gold groping. Simon Rabinovitch explains that “The Chinese term, very apt, for groping is ‘pig hands’, hence the menu translation” (The Daily Mail).

Here are a few of our favourite examples of menu translation fails.

We’ll pass on the potato and vegetable gravy in green pee.

1) We’ll pass on the potato and vegetable gravy in green pee. (Travel + Leisure)

2) We wonder if Ms. French Fries, Mr. Oyster, and Mermaid in deep sea, were once good friends. (The Daily Mail)

3) If Thai Style Uterus Salad is on the menu, it’s best to stick with the catfish. (Travel + Leisure)

4) Back in the wild-wild west, old cow filet on the rock might have actually been on the dinner menu. (The Daily Mail)

5) A few options you can add to your order are pork or shrimps or crap. Gulp. (Travel + Leisure)

6) We’re not sure exactly how reliable Wikipedia is, but one restaurant believes in it wholeheartedly by offering Stir-fried Wikipedia, stir-fried Wikipedia with pimentos, and steam eggs with Wikipedia. (NewsD.co)

7) You and your family sounds like the plot of a new horror movie. (Cookvids)

8) If you’re shaky on what you feel like eating for lunch, stay away from the Shakey beef – cubed demonic steak. (Travel + Leisure)

There’s More to Food Translation Than Menus

Translation in the food industry comes down to more than just menus. Though it’s imperative to make the menus clear, concise and appetizing, there are a host of other areas that are important to your business, such as:

  • Training manuals
  • Sales presentations
  • Websites and videos
  • Marketing materials
  • Expert reports
  • Product packaging

Some of these can be incredibly important for businesses who want to diversify their staff or take their business overseas. When everyone can understand their job—and how the business is supposed to run—then everyone can take part in making your restaurant or food service company a success.

Our professional translators can take your vision and make it understandable in any language. And those who work in food translation have extensive experience in the industry. Don’t settle for less on your menu: ask for a free quote today.

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