«Translating Restaurants' Menus from English into Arabic: Problems and Strategies By Kefaya Adeeb Hafeth Saleh Supervisor Dr. Odeh Odeh Co-Supervisor ...»
One more example is taken from Subway menu. In the part of sandwiches there is a phrase that describes the length of the sandwich. The phrase of "6 inch or foot long?" is translated literally as " 6." The literal translation here is unacceptable in the TC since it is not usual to connect food with foot or with measurements. It is against the TC norms and it diverges from customers' expectations which may cause message distortion. Therefore, the translator suggests an
alternative translation as:
Two pictures that represent the two lengths of the sandwich can make the translation more reliable.
5.4. Adaptation Schaffner (2000: 333-336) emphasizes the attempts to localize borrowed concepts or forms, to achieve acceptance by the intended receptors. Hatim (1997: 19-20) defines adaptation as a general strategy that includes other techniques of adjustment such as addition, omission and cultural substitution. The need for adjustment is due to the difference among the socio-cultural aspects between the SC market and the TC market. Such aspects include religion, mores and commercial habits.
Adaptation is seen by many scholars as a target-oriented strategy that respects the local color of the TC. Consequently, it produces target texts which are representative of the TC norms, values and expectations.
Adaptation is used to adjust the SL sentence or phrase to the TL and to meet the expectations of the target audience.
5.4.1. Adaptation of slogans
Slogans have a promotional function. They express the role of the menu as a tool of advertising. Therefore, they should be rendered in an emotive style that appeals to customers and goes with the cultural and social habits of the receiving audience. The following table includes some slogans and their translations in the TL.
Table (6): examples of slogans and their adaptation into Arabic.
(See Appendix B.) The translators here do not opt to literal translation although it can convey the meaning. Instead, they adapt the sentences into more attractive and stronger statements of advertising. Interestingly, the adapted translations are as short as the original or may be shorter. Further, they express the translator's creativity and linguistic ability. Let's take the example of "Experience the best Taste and Price" which could be literally translated as " ". However, the translator adapts the statement to produce a translation with a high level of assurance and certainty. The translation as " " conveys a direct message that there is no need for experience as for sure you will like the taste and price.
One more example in which the translator adapts the statement to the TC norms and habits, is that of "make any 6-inch salad". The presented Arabic rendering as ". " is preferable ". Suppose the translator has rendered the sentence literally as " 6 ". Most likely, such a translation is expected not to be favoured by most Arab customers since it is not a common thing in Arab culture or mind to connect food items such as "salad" and measurement units such as "inch!" Therefore, the adapted translation as " " suggests nicely the free choice of salad.
5.4.2. Adaptation of CSCs:
When the SL word has no direct equivalent in Arabic, it becomes a problem in translation. In order to fill the cultural gap between the SC and the TC, translators opt to adapt the terms through different techniques, such as paraphrase or cultural substitution. Baker (1992: 38) suggests paraphrase to deal with CSCs that are not lexicalized in the TL. Next are some
examples in which SL items are adapted by paraphrase and description:
Table (7): examples of adaptation by paraphrase and description.
Obviously, the TL versions are successful as they are informative enough in a precise style. Here, the translators introduce the food item or the dish in few words that describe the nature of the item such as "slush" which is translated as " ", or tell the origin of the product such as "mozzarella cheese" rendered as " " and "Twist" rendered as " ". Moreover, paraphrase becomes necessary in certain conditions to avoid misleading literal translation. For example, "clear soup" is adapted as " " instead of a literal translation as " ". In this particular example, literal translation sounds meaningless, which reinforces the need for adaptation that is more informative and satisfactory.
However, adaptation requires professional and knowledgeable translators who can give the accurate descriptions of the food item or the dish to avoid some translation mistakes or shortcomings. For instance, "Waldrof salad" is paraphrased as " " although it mainly includes apple, celery and mayonnaise while orange is not included. Therefore, it can be better translated as " ".
Another level of adaptation can be achieved through cultural substitution. Baker (1992: 31) defines cultural substitution as the process of using a cultural–specific item that can replace a TL item achieving the same, or nearly the same, influence on the recipients in the TC. The decision to use the strategy depends on the license given to the translator and the purpose of translation. In regard to menu translation, the aim is to inform the customers and convince them to choose the meal. The alternative target item can achieve the aim without message distortion. For example, the term "San Peters" is substituted by " ".
5.4.3. Adaptation for emotive purposes:
Sometimes, adaptation is used to convey the message in an emotive style that attracts the customers. For instance," large fries" is translated as " "instead of " "to indicate that the amount of fries is enough for the whole family which, in turn, is expected to increase the orders.
Let's take another example for more clarification. The term "Black Mushrooms" is adapted into " "instead of" ".
The term " " meaning "wild" is connected with high quality and purity since the wild is the original source of mushroom. On the other hand, " " is less emotive in relation to mushrooms.
5.4.4. Adaptation following the name of the food operation One example that attracted the attention of the researcher is the adaptation of the food product for the benefit of the food company, not for the benefit of the target audience. In this example, Texas Chicken in Jordan presents a special translation for the term "Biscuits" as" "which means "the bread of Texas". In this way, the food operation matches the food item to its name in a form of monopoly. Still, such a translation can be misleading because it sounds as an American product related to the state of Texas. Transliteration or pictures are the best solution to avoid this confusion or monopoly of the product by a particular food operation.
The previous examples of adaptation prove that translation is a process of re-writing and creativity which is illustrated by different techniques, such as addition and omission. These strategies/ techniques will be discussed in detail in the following sections.
5.5. Addition In their attempts to adapt the text to the TC and, subsequently, to attract a large number of customers, translators sometimes choose to add some information at the level of words, phrases or sentences. The primary reason for addition, according to Obeidat (2005: 103), is "to clarify complex or unfamiliar notions and concepts to the reader." Newmark (1988: 91) clarifies that the added information can be cultural, technical or linguistic. When the added information is necessary to solve some translation problems and to clarify odd names of dishes, addition becomes justified and preferred. However, it is unjustifiable and misleading if the added information presents meanings that do not exist in the ST. In this context, it goes under overtranslation. The reasons behind addition are varied. The sample of the study shows that addition is used at different levels and for different purposes.
5.5.1. Addition at word level
One word that may be added to the text can be very useful for the overall meaning, especially in the case of food menus that are rich in odd names. Most likely, the added word has a function according to the situation. The next table includes some examples of single words (the underlined) being added for different purposes Table (8): Examples of addition at word level.
Here, the added words work for better comprehension. The word can add certain details that do not exist in the ST to remove any ambiguity or mistaken interpretations. The example of "cheese crust pizza" which is translated as " " is a clear one. The added word " " meaning "mozzarella" makes it clear what kind of cheese is being used as cheese has different types such as "Ricotta"," Romano" and so on. The same can be said about "stuffed chicken" rendered as " ", in which the word " " meaning "breast" is added to answer an expected question by customers about the part of the chicken used in this particular dish. It explains directly that it is breast not thigh or wing, for example. The added information is useful because most people usually prefer a part to another. Let's take another example for more clarification. "Ice cream" is translated into " " in which the word " " meaning "plain" is used to distinguish the ice cream in question from the other types of ice cream that may include nuts or fruits.
Further, one word can be a key to clarify the odd names of foreign dishes, especially those belonging to international cuisines other than English. The two examples that represent the idea are the fourth and the fifth examples in the previous table. For instance, the addition of " " meaning "butter" helps to clarify the French name "maitre d'hotel". Without it the product is unclear since no information is available about its nature or type. It is just one word that summarizes the description of the product. The same is true for adding the word " " to the transliterated word " ". It is necessary to clarify the type of dish which has no counterpart in Arabic. In the case of CSCs, the addition of key words is very effective in conveying the message and meeting customers' expectations. Moreover, they remove the oddness of some foreign food items.
Some additions are emotive ones to attract the customers and to convey an advertising message. Newmark (1988: 133) believes that translators sometimes need to use emotive and effective elements if the context requires it. With regard to menus, emotive language clearly helps to achieve the advertising theme of the menu. The following table introduces
three examples of addition for emotive style:
Table (9): addition for promotional purposes
Here, the addition of effective and appellative adjectives is positive as it does not cause message distortion. The word " " which means "varied" in the first example implying that the dish contains several choices. In the second example, the added adjective " " meaning "deep fried" tends to attract customers as fried bread is preferred by many customers. The same can be said of the word " " meaning "natural" in the third example. It persuades more customers to order the dish because people usually prefer natural food items which express purity and a healthy nature to them. However, it may be unfaithful since the honey may not be natural.
Moreover, one important use of addition is to meet the norms and values of the TC and to remove cultural and religious connotations. A clear example is Texas Chicken in which the word " " meaning "permissible" is added to satisfy the Arab customers in Jordan who may attribute the brand name to the USA where Texas is a state. To avoid such confusion that can cause the customers to keep a way from the restaurant, the word " " is added. Moreover, full sentences can be added for the same purpose as discussed earlier in the previous chapter. (See Chapter Four).
5.5.2. Addition at the phrase level
Sometimes, one word may not be enough to achieve the intended aim of addition either for linguistic reasons or content requirements.
Therefore, the addition at phrase level occurs more frequently than adding single words. Sometimes the additions are being criticized by some people as examples of overtranslation. In the following table, there are some
examples of successful additions at phrase level for varied functions:
Table (10): examples of addition at phrase level.
Obviously, the previous table includes varied examples of different parts of the menu such as soups, main dishes and desserts. In each context, the added details have a purpose. The first purpose is to clarify the odd names of dishes and food items. For example, the phrase " " meaning "Mexican dish" is an additional note that defines the "taco shells" as a Mexican dish which implies the major characteristics of the Mexican food such as being hot and spicy.
Another purpose for addition is to clarify the available choices of the dish. In the example of "Sbarro pizza dough " rendered a " ", the added two words " " meaning " traditional" and " " meaning " thick" represent two choices of the same dough. It proves that few words can simplify a complex name and affect positively the customer's choice depending on the translators first hand experience.
Sometimes the words are added to clarify the style of cooking such as the example of "lasagna" which is translated as " ". The addition of the phrase " " meaning "in the oven" tends to specify the method of cooking. The same can be said of "fritters banana" rendered as " ". The added phrase " " meaning" fried with honey" makes the dish sound as a dessert and not a fresh fruit, for example. In other words, it is necessary to clarify the nature of the dishalthough it may violate the theme of economy in translation.