Peculiarities of Culinary Translation

A chance to try exotic dishes, prepared according to recipes common in other countries, attracts not only gourmets, but also people, who are interested in cookery. You can find a restaurant or order some dishes or open a book with recipes of Oriental or another cuisine and cook something by yourself.

As in the case of the other materials for adaptation of recipe to the foreign language their authors or publishers should have recourse to translation services. Specialist, who has work experience with recipes, can preserve meaning of a text. Experts also save author from unexpected confusion caused by specificities of culinary translation.

Recipe translation

Recipe is a peculiar instruction that shows in which order and proportions and how to process ingredients to get the result. Specificity of culinary translation to Russian is similar to work with technical texts, where one mistake can change meaning of entire text. In addition, in different countries there are different names of the same spices or cooking utensils.

Standards of weight also differ according to the country, where a recipe was created. It can be liters, fluid ounces, teaspoons or tablespoons, cups and other designations. Furthermore, several alternative names can be used in the same country.

Specialists are required to define target audience, find utensils analogues, understand what some kind of ingredients in the recipe mean and perform translation of weight standards from one system to another.

Replacement of ingredients

In some cases there are dishes (especially when it comes to rare dishes) that have components, which are hard to find in other countries. Of course, in our time you can buy almost everything in a supermarket or specialized store, but even now rare spices or herbs are difficult to get.

Specialist, who for some reason has to change one of the components in the dish, should do this only after agreement with publisher or recipe author. Sometimes experts’ help is required; they are able to find the alternative variants of ingredients or technique of their processing. A translator is no less responsible than when working with medical articles since health of all people, who will use it, depends on translation accuracy.

Typical mistakes in translation

Among the major mistakes, which even professionals sometimes make (especially those, who haven’t faced a culinary topic before), can be distinguished:

1. Mistranslation of measurement standards that causes descriptions of dishes with kilograms and millimeters.
2. An incorrect perception of cooking process, as a result of which important moments can be missed out or translated wrong.
3. Literal translation of names, which causes misunderstanding of text.
4. Incorrect description of cooking result – how dishes have to look like and gustatory senses. If this is some exotic recipe, a translator can be accused of wrong method to convey meaning of the original text.

Demand for culinary translation

Machine translation with all its advantages can’t interpret all subtleties, which only human is able to assess. Only translator, who has a good practice, can select analogs of words, missing in a language or having ambiguous definitions.

Work with large amounts of materials – books or handbooks — in a very short time and with high quality can be performed only by a team of professionals. Author of a book or its publisher, in turn, should be sure that readers will get accurate information that corresponds to the original work to the maximum. The existence of thousands recipes, already translated to the leading world languages, is not the cause of chefs’ refusal to invent new dishes. The most successful of them become widely known. Others continue to be rarely cooked exotics. The new collections of recipes or magazines with the relevant rubrics continue to be issued today, demanding professional translation in other languages.