Back when I thought that I would have an English-language consultancy, I was sure I could render such useful services as correcting glaring errors on French restaurant menus. Maybe one day, I will be able to provide this much-needed service. In the meantime, here’s the winning entry from a crêperie menu that sparked that brainstorm, and the English translation just after:

« Épidemie de crevettes ?! »

Voilà comment pourrait sonner une erreur de traduction sur un menu parmi tant d’autres pour un anglophone. Parfois, pour se faire comprendre et ainsi utiliser la bonne traduction, garder certains mots français est nécessaire et ces petites nuances ne sont pas toujours faciles.

Si vous êtes propriétaire d’un restaurant avec une clientèle anglophone, ces petites fautes pourraient devenir un sérieux problème et vous faire passer de ridicule. Ne laissez pas ces fautes sur vos cartes !

And now for the English translation:

“Shrimp Outbreak?!” That’s how a translation error on a menu, among so many others, can sound for an English speaker. Sometimes, you have to keep some French words to use the right translation and make yourself understood, and these little nuances aren’t always easy.

If you’re the owner of a restaurant with an English-speaking clientele, these little mistakes could become a serious problem and leave you open to ridicule. Don’t leave these mistakes on your menus!

Just to clarify: “flambée Calva” means that the crêpe was flambéed with Calvados, an apple brandy from the Calvados area of Normandy. “Flambéed with Calva(dos)” sounds so much better than “shrimp outbreak Calva,” don’t you think?

On second thought, I need to keep this whole idea on the back-burner. It’s not a bad one!

© 2011, Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

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