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Tips To Translate a Restaurant Menu

Many translators are along the lines of having an obsession where they would sit down in a restaurant and read the menu only to find out that the menu is not in the language they are comfortable with.

Furthermore, they work to solve the menu to a language that they prefer. According to a translator,” We scan it, and we are eager to spot typos and wrongly translated cooking terms. One may wonder how difficult it could be to translate a menu.” So, here we have three pieces of advice to different restaurant owners and three tips to professional translators

Restaurant Owners

1-    Arrange a meeting with your translator and ensure that the translator is a professional. If not, you will be risking having displeased guests that thought they ordered something that they did not really do or that they may be allergic to some ingredients that were mistranslated. This is very important in the sense that this could potentially end in some unforeseen situations. Give your translator specific guidelines on what the translation should reflect.

2-    The main purpose of your menu should be the attractiveness and understanding. It should be localized to the culture of the clients.

3-    Try to avoid romantic and wordy descriptions. The menu needs to be quite simple and clear; however, the necessary information should be included. Make sure to describe the dishes in a very pretty manner. Remember that your menu is there to show and offer dishes to your guests and is your strongest marketing tool after your picturesque location and attractive décor.


1-    If a meeting is arranged by the restaurant owner, then this is your chance to have a look at the printed menu. It is also a plus to have the meeting done at a place where you can have a feel of the environment as well.

2-    Study the food culture. It is an essential aspect of something very close to the locals such as food. There may be so many dishes or foods on the menu that would not correspond to the culture of food in another country. Identify those differences and consider whether it would be a wise move to have a meeting with the restaurant’s chef.

3-    Try to broaden your approach. Many translators get stuck on the fact of sticking to the text that they have and do not go into the details of things. Imagine that you the client of the restaurant and produce a menu that would be attractive to you and your fellow countrymen.

This approach would help you get a feel for what the target market is without forgetting the elements of the food culture. This is very important since it enables the translators to get in-depth knowledge of what task they have ahead.



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