A menu item should inform the clients of its contents and sound appetizing in the same time. It`s not always easy to achieve, for there is plenty of culinary and linguistic traps along the way.
The cookware glossary is another crucial aspect that should be carefully considered while translating restaurant menus and cookbooks.
Translating ingredients in recipes can become a challenge as well. There are some exotic components in Western Europe recipes, which cannot be found in Russia, which makes us search for substitute ingredients. Sometimes we consult the author and sometimes we rely on our experience and imagination. There is an exotic Philippine recipe called "Banana blossom heart" and, you know, there is also a very little chance of finding a banana flower in Russia, despite the fact that the international commerce has given us plenty of new ingredients. The solution is finding alternatives with similar taste and texture. In this particular case, the substitute for the palm heart is a simple apple.
Measurement units in culinary are another different story. In United Kingdom, the older generation is used to pounds, ounces, fluid ounces, tea and tablespoons, while the next generation uses metric system and says kilograms and litres. Unites States prefer to measure in cups.
Spices, seasonings, and flavor additivesDuring the cold winter season, spices become essential not only for food but also for different traditional hot beverages from tea to mulled wine. In the past few months, we translated more menus and product labels than usual and we noticed that spices and seasonings were among the base ingredients in those products.
In our translation agency, we have already performed over 300 different menu translations for restaurants and coffee shops, as well as translations of culinary recipes and cookbooks. We have translated from English, German, French, Serbian, Chinese, and Japan.
For quite a long time we have been doing business with an eastern airline company, which orders translations from English of the menus, offered to passengers during a long flight. Five meals include fine dishes such as roast chicken with grain mustard sauce, paprika, spinach, carrots and potatoes; creme-soup with paprika, ginger and coriander; chicken breast, stuffed with spinach and cheese, dressed with rosemary gravy, grilled vegetables and pumpkin puree etc. Pepper, cloves, bay leaf, parsley, ginger are the most favourable spices among others. Translating these texts to Russian requires special culinary knowledge and ability to translate such herbs used for seasoning as sweet flag, or calamus, ajwain, basil, hyssop, cardamom, cumin, licorice, ramson, majoram, rocket salad and so on.
We also work with a major company, producing and distributing spices. We have done multiple translations of agreements and contracts from Polish and English, but of course, most of this company’s orders are descriptions of the spices on the wrapping and some recipes including those spices.
The most relevant winter recipe is mulled wine or punch. The seasoning includes cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. Add all those spices in a pot with wine, red or white, preferably semi-sweet. For better flavor cut one apple and one orange with skin into small pieces and add to the wine. If you cook your punch with white wine, you can add a tablespoon of some strong alcohol. Then heat your wine but avoid boiling. Cover the pot and let it infuse for 40 minutes. This beverage will definitely warm you up even in the most severe frost, because Gluhwein (comes from German gluhender Wein) means "glowing wine" for a reason!