Author: voice_cd

How to say Chinese dishes in English - simply and clearly? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-4-12 19:57:30 |Display all floors

Very funny

I think to write them in pinyin will do the job. It's just like many French dishes are not translated. Escargot is escargot is escargot.
You can always have fine prints explaining the ingredients or a picture that tells all.

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Post time 2007-4-12 20:18:50 |Display all floors
i totally agree with you,i even don't know how to translate the daily my opinion, writing then in pinying is the favorable way for us chinese ,perhaps for all the people from this earth

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Post time 2007-4-12 21:48:21 |Display all floors

simply pinyin may not suffice

I don't quite agree, as the 2008 olympic game is approching, and especially more and more foreigners will come into our country, pinyin can not vividly describe the features of the cuizine. for example gongbao jiding , if you translate it as kongbao chicken, the foreigners at least will know that it is a dish with chicken as the ingredient.

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Post time 2007-4-13 12:11:59 |Display all floors
Originally posted by zhangwuji156 at 2007-4-12 18:27


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Post time 2007-4-13 12:40:49 |Display all floors

Pinyin - waste of time

Foreigners do not understand Pinyin, so leave the menus in Chinese - it means as much as pinyin to most visitors! I am amazed that people cannot see that!

In the UK we could call "Fish and chips"

"Whitby golden history"

or "Fruit of the earth blesses fruit of the sea"

but English people are dull and simple, so we call it just what it is "Fish and Chips"

even then you have to guess that a chip is potato and not a micro-processor!

so not only must the words be translated but also the thinking, that is

simply describe the food like this

Animal (or vegetable)
Preparation method
Cooking method
Type of sauce
overall property of dish
then other additives

For example

Chicken, pieces (with small bones), fried, no sauce, dry, with cashew nuts (whole), dried red pepper, and ground pepper

Would be a description of the common "Sichuan fried chicken"

Working out all the descriptors would be a tough job but you only need to it once - and foods not on the main list could be "translated" by filling in the boxes (in Chinese) is some form of software

restuarants across China could translate their own menus for fun :)

No more

"The splendid kitchen, explodes the duck in pans on fire!"

on the menu
"We know it's weakness, but the weakness is so strong!"

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Post time 2007-4-13 12:44:30 |Display all floors


Yes, the bones are important

Westerners are very good at choking on bones!

So need to note

Many bones (fine, small)
Few bones
Few bones (large)

So many people killed by small bones - why?

because in many western countries it is the job of the cook to remove all bones

so western people are not practiced at spitting out or avoiding eating bones

they try to swallow them, choke and die
"We know it's weakness, but the weakness is so strong!"

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Post time 2007-4-14 01:12:27 |Display all floors
Originally posted by voice_cd at 2007-4-12 15:29

However, it is really a hard work to combine the culture and practicability. Many Chinese-style dishes have legend stores behind them while others can't be distinguished as what they are made from merely through their names.

Bull. You just need a good dictionary and someone who knows English. Any foreigner who has a working command of Chinese would do, but they are never asked to assist in translations. Furthermore, it would be fruitful to make a standardized database of translated dishes and road signs, so you don't need to reinvent the wheel a thousand times a day. Many such translations exist on the net.

If there's a legend to the, just describe the legend somewhere else, in fine print. What the food is made of has priority.

If there is no English equivalent, use pinyin (and only pinyin, not some stupid old transcription system) and MAKE IT a new brand. After a while foreigners will learn and say "Oh, have you tried these Nanxiang xiaolong?? They're so delicious!" (after all, "ketchup" is a Chinese word...).

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