Found in Translation

June 19th, 2007

A digital dictionary may save the hungry traveler, deliberating over a menu in some farflung corner of the globe, but what can translation programs do for menu-makers? Wherever we go, I find some quirky dishes on the menu – only the chef can reveal what will actually appear on our plates.  On our recent ramble in Catalonia, the following seafood wonders were on a lunch menu in Girona:  Weak rice with sea crab, Cockles to the Steam, Octopus to the Galician, Clams to the Plate, Cod carpaccio with creaking garlics, Suquet of snuff with potatoes and mushrooms. And when I turned to the meat listing, I was puzzled by: Lamb with garrison (an army of vegetables?).  Problems seem to lie not only with the prepositions.  Rest assured, pasta – Fideus in Catalonia, for instance – is usually a safe bet.