Translations for the food and drink sector

In many countries across the world, and none more so than Italy, the food and drink sector is a money-spinning business that offers genuine mass market opportunities. This can be seen in the proliferation of cooking magazines, recipe books and other types of digital publications (applications for smartphones and tablets, websites, food blogs and e-books). As the texts of these documents can be targeted at both industry experts and a more general audience of enthusiasts, the translators that specialise in this sector must be able to switch comfortably between technical terminology and mass communication. Landoor has provided translation and localisation services in the food writing sector for decades, ranging from specialist translations of recipes to the adaptation of restaurant menus into foreign languages – two tasks that are more complex than they may appear.

 Translations of recipes

Translating recipe books is not just a case of transposing descriptions and instructions for cooking and baking enthusiasts into another language but a genuine exercise in localisation which must take account of the type of publication and the type of reader/user, adjusting the linguistic register as appropriate. Other common problems that emerge in the translation of cookbooks include:

  • The difficulty of clearly and concisely communicating every step of the recipe using clear and precise terminology relating to utensils and the preparation of the ingredients;
  • Cultural differences in the measurement of the ingredients: for example, while in continental Europe and many other parts of the world quantities are expressed in weight, in English-speaking countries they are described in volume using a system of standard measurements (cup, half a cup, quarter of a cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, etc.). A good translator will get hold of precise tables for the correct conversion of weights to volumes or vice versa (in fact, the quantities expressed in weight can change considerably depending on whether the food is dry or fresh, in liquid or in powder form);
  • Temperatures measured in Fahrenheit as opposed to Celsius, and vice versa.

In all cases it will be essential to be able to call on the consultancy of a chef or expert pastry chef in order to make a few little but important adjustments to the numbers, rounding them up or down into whole numbers rather than decimals without compromising the results of the recipe. Translating books of recipes from different cultures to ours (Asian cooking, for example) can also be quite challenging: in this case, if the publisher agrees, it could be a good idea to suggest other ingredients with which to substitute those ethnic ingredients that are difficult to find here. Also in this case, only those that work in the culinary sector are able to provide the translator with valid support. Landoor manages all of these aspects thanks to its specialist mother tongue translators and revisers and completes the process also by taking care of the editorial aspect of culinary texts, for example by translating photo captions, subtitling, dubbing or providing voiceovers for video recipes and, last but not least, managing the graphical spaces of printed works by cutting and filling in areas as appropriate.

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