The importance of translating restaurant menus (correctly)

Translating restaurant menus, wine lists and, of course, your restaurant’s website, will attract new clients to your business. To translate your restaurant dishes will help you increase your visibility and improve your image. And you cannot underestimate the power of the Internet today in the decision-making process.

Many clients plan their holidays in advance, searching in online travel guides, blogs and tourism websites or directly in Google. For that reason, if your restaurant provides information about its food offerings in the potential client’s language, the probability that they opt for your business increases considerably.

To translate restaurant menus, is it that important?

We can’t forget about the client that is strolling down the street. Their stomach growls and they begin searching (often with great desperation) for a restaurant without having made a prior reservation. Now imagine that it’s you travelling outside your country. You are looking for a restaurant and you find one with a menu in English and another without. Which one would you enter?

Very probably, you would prefer the establishment in which you can perfectly understand the menu and you know that you aren’t going to “eat blindly”, right?

Because of that, translating restaurant menus is vital. Tourists from other countries speaking another language will be able understand the dishes and drinks that your restaurant offers. But, can anyone do this type of translation of restaurant menus? Absolutely not.


Translation, food and culture should go together

Although facing any translation is never an easy task, restaurant menu translation requires a wide understanding of the gastronomy and culture of the country and the public to which it is directed. To serve this purpose, to translate restaurant menus is a service typically done by native translators who live in the country and perfectly understand both cultures and languages.

The food culture of each country is a world in its own. In dealing with two very different cultures (like Russian or Chinese compared with British or American culture), a proper menu translation can become very complicated.

Therefore, translating restaurant menus must be handled only by true translation professionals. Forget about your any cousin/friend/acquaintance who claims to understand the target language in order to avoid total blunders that can ruin the image of your restaurant.

Translating restaurant menus professionally is key

Currently, Barcelona receives more than five million tourists each year and the large majority of them are attracted by the good reputation of Spanish cuisine. Thus, they are potential critics of your restaurant through “word of mouth” or comments on specialised tourist forums, blogs, and websites.

So, don’t forget: the perfect presentation of dishes is not enough if the restaurant menu is not capable of drawing in the client. And although it may seem trivial, it isn’t enough to simply translate the menu. It is also fundamentally important to translate the daily menu or seasonal specialties because these are typically the best offerings of any restaurant.

Offering professionally translated restaurant menus should be a must for any restaurant, something that, in the end, not only allows you to put your best foot forward with international clients, but also does tremendous justice to the work done in the kitchen.

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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