I had an excellent dinner at Brasserie Blanc on Tuesday night, but I was very disappointed by the quality of the menu’s French translation. Time to call a professional translator to the rescue? Menu translation is extremely tricky: the vocabulary linked to food is so rich, precise and culture-dependent that an in-depth knowledge of both cultures and languages and real terminological expertise are necessary to do a good job.
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Regardless of the quality of the translation, which seems to “forget” a lot of the English, this menu contains a number of mistakes, which betrays a total absence of proofreading. I’ve already talked about editing and proofreading, which I enjoy: finding the odd and inevitable mistake in a colleague’s work is like a game and it can be extremely satisfying to add a missing “s” or to spot an incorrect verb agreement. It is extremely technical and needs to be approached methodically: this article on Interactive Training give lots of useful tips. I particularly like number 11: to stop the typos, read backwards so you’re not distracted by the meaning of the text.
So, how many mistakes can you spot in the French translation of the menu? I’ve also included one particularly “invisible” typo in my own text, can you find it?