Image by Jay Wennington

Culinary Translation

Cookbooks, Magazines, Blogs, Menus . . .

I first took an interest in cooking as a boy, poring over my mother's cookbooks for hours on end and enlisting her help to re-create the things I saw. Later on, I had the opportunity to cook professionally in a restaurant kitchen for a time. I have been a passionate hobby chef for my entire adult life, with much of my spare time devoted to watching food blogs and cooking shows, exploring ingredients and techniques, and then feeding my family on the results.

When describing a dish, restaurant offering, or menu item, the reader should be able to almost taste the flavours and scent the aromas of the dish. Matters of style, including adjective selection, voice, and flow are paramount. Marketing copy and other descriptive text should thus be fully localized to achieve its intent, while still retaining the subtle allure of the foreign.

 

With instructional texts, on the other hand, the ability of the reader to re-create the dish flawlessly is the chief consideration. These texts should be translated with an eye toward adaptation to local conventions, including the conversion of measuring units and the use of local substitutes for ingredients not commonly available in the target region.