Translating Chinese menus

Chinese menuTravellers often have some photos of funny translations they have seen in China or other countries. We’ve got a great example here!

Chinese food names use Chinese characters that have positive associations. They are very atmospheric, but may not be a description of the actual food contained in the dish. This is one reason why it is not easy to translate a Chinese menu into English.

When translating Chinese menus, if you ignore the cultural aspects and translate them with an automated translation system, rather than an experienced human translator, it can go horribly wrong. What, for example, is “Meal egg soup, the brisket gets the river powder”? Or “Black winter in type seafood soup in day”? And would you risk ordering “Slippery chicken in mushroom gruel”?

Luckily at Accutranslate, we have a team of skilled native Chinese translators to help translate this menu. With their knowledge of the language and the food in China “Meal egg soup, the brisket gets the river powder” becomes “Luncheon meat and fried egg in instant noodle soup” which is now comprehensible, though it perhaps still won’t sound appetising to a UK audience – it’s spam soup after all!  “Black winter in type seafood soup in day” is now “Japanese  style seafood noodle soup” and the unappetising “Slippery chicken in mushroom gruel” becomes “Dried mushroom and chicken congee” which sounds a whole lot tastier.

Bon appétit! If you want to make your menus, marketing materials or website copy a whole lot tastier for your audiences, whatever language they speak, talk to Accutranslate on 0800 466 1335 or info@accutranslate.co.uk

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Accutranslate offer a wide range of translation and interpreting services. We have extensive experience of translating and interpreting in both the private and public sectors.

Good translation and interpreting is essential in commercial, legal and medical situations. Accutranslate's discreet and professional translators and interpreters offer experience in the legal, healthcare, sports and medical sectors. We offer a quality service while maintaining affordability.

Work is carried out by native speakers in their home country, and every piece is quality checked and proofed in the UK by our own translation team, ensuring Accutranslate can maintain the high quality of our translations.