How to Translate Menu And Why It Is Important?

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menu of a restaurant

Have you ever found yourself in a Chinese restaurant where you’re presented with a menu and cannot understand a single syllable? Either because of the fact that the menu is not translated or because it poorly translated. Well, such situations don’t only apply to Chinese restaurants. Nevertheless, they are terrible, even hilarious at times but in a bad way. So, if you want to run a great restaurant with frequent customers and liked by locals, thus, you should translate your menu. While it might seem like a heavy task at first, a few simple tricks can largely simplify it.

Cooking That Translation Up

restaurant venue

Translating a restaurant menu means making your restaurant accessible and inclusive to anyone, especially foreigners and tourists. That, in turn, can increase your revenue even in the short term. Some studies found that consumers seem to be more attracted to information in their native language than discounts or otherwise lower prices. As a menu is one of the key elements of a restaurant, this research becomes more relevant.

Now, there are only a few tips and tricks that can help you in translating menus and cookbooks that matter. Of course, the best way would be to address the best website translation services and trust the matter to professionals, especially if your menu has an online version. There are numerous cultures and cuisines in the world, meaning that every dish might be specific. While it seems that it makes the translation overwhelmingly difficult, if possible, translating menus goes down to these three main factors.

Transliteration Over Translation

Multiple dishes like pizza, moussaka, ramen, and chow mein are never translated but are used very well worldwide. Either transliterate the dish or provide it as a brief description (a list of main ingredients). Just remember to do your best.

Focus On ingredients

Most ingredients like plants and animal meat should be more or less familiar for everyone. Include a list of ingredients in the menu and make sure to translate it well.If, for any reason, your restaurant uses a measurement system different from metric, convert all the weights and volumes to it. This way, people will certainly not get lost and will be able to order in accordance with their tastes and eating capabilities.

As you can see, not too hard. While the task is somewhat harder for a person who is not directly involved in the translation industry, it’s still possible to complete it with your own resources, given that you’re using the base of knowledge for translators wisely. But what’s all the fuss about? Why it’s so important to translate menus at restaurants? Here, there are four major factors.

Retain Customers

To make customers stay in the first place. While you can attract them with a nice and shiny neon sign, keeping them in is a totally different story. A customer who stays is a customer who pays. You get the idea.


If you want more customers to visit your restaurant and visit repeatedly, be completely honest with them. If the customers understand what exactly they eat, they will more likely return and even bring their friends to the table.


The customers may need to spell out the name of a dish or a drink for a number of reasons. To ask a waiter whether the dish is ready or to complement it. Or, maybe, they might get impatient waiting for a menu to be brought. In any case, communication is the key in customer service, and in a restaurant, it can’t happen without a translated menu.

Cultural Awareness

It’s always nice to do a good thing and spread awareness about your local culture. Just imagine the happy faces of your customers when they come back to their home country and show off to all their friends that they ate that very region-specific dish at your restaurant. Isn’t that wonderful?

To show class. Finally, should customers see that your restaurant is culturally inclusive, they will much more likely view the restaurant as a place of class. If they notice that you are bothered about your menu, they won’t have doubts that your service is great as well. That makes a full circle and brings us back to point one.

Serving the Positive Experience

To keep a person happy and offering them with the best service in their life is an art. Still, if it’s approached properly, it’s more than achievable and can easily make you proud of yourself. At the same time, some elements of the positive customer experience require less effort but pay off greatly. Translating a menu might not be the easiest feat of them all, but it can help you earn the image you deserve.

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