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Beijing launches menu translation campaign

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, March 22, 2012
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After a city-wide effort to scrub too-literal English translations from street signs ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing authorities are launching yet another linguistic rectification campaign - this time, targeting restaurant menus.

This Book - "Enjoy Culinary Delights: A Chinese Menu in English" was recently published to put an end to the often-too literal English translations seen on Chinese menus. 

This may all look so yummy, but the menu might be a shock!

Reporter Xie Sisi said, "This Chinese menu was lost in translation. Don't worry, meatballs don't smile, ordering Chinese food can be so easy now with this book, so follow me."

This Book - "Enjoy Culinary Delights: A Chinese Menu in English” was recently published to put an end to the often-too literal English translations seen on Chinese menus. It contains recommended translations for more than 2,000 of China's most popular dishes.

The Director of the Beijing Foreign Affairs Office, who's also the chief of the editorial committee of the book, said it's the newest effort in promoting China's culinary culture.

Zhao Huimin, director of Beijing Foreign Affairs Office, said, "As Beijing is striving to become a "World City", we need a better language environment. And Chinese food has become more popular around the world in recent years, so it's essential to standardize the translation. The newly published book contains easy-to-understand English names of almost all mainstream dishes of China's eight major cuisines. It is for reference only, and is not compulsory."

Braised pork balls in gravy 

China's dish names are infused with its culinary culture, and expressing them in English is not always so easy.

Reporter Xie Sisi said, "Take this iconic Sichuan dish - Kung pao chicken for example. 'Kung pao' was an official title during the Qing Dynasty, and the inventor of the dish - Ding Baozhen possessed the title, so his title was used to name the dish."

Foreign visitors in Beijing are welcoming the book.

Cao Hongling, the manager of a local restaurant, said the book is useful for both foreign and Chinese diners. He said, "Since our restaurant is located in the embassy district, we have a lot of foreign customers. The standard translation from the book can be a great reference to us. And the wine list translation in it can benefit our Chinese customers, to help them choose a wine."

The municipal government has tried to regulate English menus since 2006 and promoted the translations in more than 1,300 restaurants during the 2008 Olympic games.

The book is available on its official and can be downloaded from:

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