Restaurant menu translation mistakes

After a long day of tourism visits, sun and sea, or nature outings, we all like to find a good place to eat and enjoy time resting, while savouring dishes created to suit our tastes. While it is not always easy to find a suitable restaurant away from our set routes, things get even harder when we go abroad. When you do not understand anything on a menu written in another language, a random selection may leave you with an empty stomach and bad mood, causing you to forget how good the day had started.

Hence why we often opt for a restaurant that offers its menu in a language that we know. “At least I will know what I am ordering”, we think. However, sometimes the menu translator simply puts obstacles in our way instead of making things easier. This happens for example when you do not know the ingredients and how the dishes are prepared. For example, seafood is not common in Russian gastronomy and the language itself lacks names to distinguish between lots of crustaceans and molluscs. On the menu of a Galician restaurant translated into Russian, in addition to the small prawns (shrimps), there are other larger ones (prawns) and then the really big ones (king prawns). And to cause even further problems for Nordic tourists, these different-sized prawns can be red, white or even striped, like tiger prawns.

However, when we ask Mr Google or a friend/cousin/brother-in-law of the restaurant to translate the menu, we run the risk of not finding out the finer details of the menu, as well as having to make a quick getaway from a restaurant that offers to prepare us “roasted pork in your juice” or “curry of mini child”.

Below we offer a selection of cases recorded in different countries that really made our hair stand on end, while simultaneously causing fits of laughter.

  1. This menu really takes the biscuit when it offers Russian clients a sophisticated “koul”, rape carried out by salmon and beef. In reality, this is just a dish of “beef with sautéed spinach” which a chain of bad translations (from Vietnamese to English and from English to Russian) has turned into a culinary monster:

  2. The following Turkish restaurant is looking for very hungry Russian tourists that will be capable of eating all of Turkey; at least it comes with vegetables to help digestion. In this case they have confused the name of the bird “turkey” with the name of the country “Turkey”:

  3. Clients in the same restaurant that are still a little hungry after eating an entire country, can continue their adventure, by discovering the taste of mice accompanied with aubergine. Let´s see if the scare takes their hunger away. There are two errors from the menu translator – “mice” instead of “mince” and “meet” instead of “meat”-and the appetising dish of aubergine filled with mince-meat now turns the stomach of foreign diners.
  4. To the delight of cannibal clients, some chefs not only put their soul into their gastronomic creations, they also put their body (“mariniert mit dem Küchenchef”):

  5. If you are not tempted by the chef, you can go for tomato accompanied by a good looking guy, (“Beautiful with Peppers”) or a friendly guy (“Tomato salad with nice”) to suit your tastes:

  6. The following menu stands out for its exceptional delicatessen offering male or female genies in a bottle (“he/she came in bottle”):

  7. The list of drinks is extended with something that contains nothing, “without”, priced at 1.70 Euro or a winning choice, the “white cup”, which must be a little tastier than nothing as it costs 30 cents more:
  8. For dessert, you can go for a tea that tastes of yourself, “your flavour”. Of course, the same menu reveals the best kept secret ingredient in history: The magic of coca cola resides in the “cocaine tail”.

  9. Ultimately, so much silliness even gets the prawns and asparagus laughing, and they too are served in some kitchens (in the Russian version of no.113, the “risotto” is confused with “risata” which means “laughter” in Italian):

The moral of this post is obvious: if you do not want your clients to die of fright or laughter, let a professional translator translate your restaurant menu.