Menu translation: find out why it is important

Customers may not speak at the table…but they certainly do read!

The translation of your restaurant’s menu is no longer an option. There are more and more reasons to recommend translating a menu into several languages. Translation needs vary according to many factors. However, it is not correct to think that smaller businesses do not need a translated menu. At the table, customers may not speak, but they certainly do read. And what they read must be understandable. After all, we are in Italy. Every year, millions of tourists visit our cities. Here are 3 reasons why a menu translation in English is essential.

1) Translating the menu makes ordering faster

This is the most intuitive advantage. Having your culinary offer in English or Spanish, the languages most used by tourists, on digital channels, makes it possible for customers to order faster. Imagine a couple of tourists who come across a menu only in Italian. The first minutes at the table will be spent translating or trying to figure out the menu. If it takes too long, they will take more time, or they might get annoyed. It may seem like a small thing, but I assure you that it is not. Try putting yourself in their shoes. Would you feel comfortable in a restaurant whose menu you do not understand? If you already have experienced this, how long did it take you to order? They may seem like little things, but they are aspects that halve your chances of attracting customers. Moreover, a multilingual menu optimizes the productivity of your restaurant. Staff members won’t have to get lost behind the translations to take better care of the room management.

2) A multilingual menu attracts more people

This is very obvious but it is often overlooked. Since English is a lingua franca, having a menu in English makes it easier to attract tourists from different parts of the world. Therefore, you will not have to translate all of the menus into different languages. If you think about it, you surely have gone abroad and found yourself comfortable with a menu written in English. Italian is no longer a lingua franca. We don’t expect guests to speak or understand it; instead, the room staff will be able to communicate in English. What you have experienced abroad, the tourists in Italy also experience. In addition, the translation of the menu highly improved loyalty. A customer is always at ease in a restaurant in which they can easily understand the menu. It will feel like being at home.

3) Translating the menu avoids major misunderstandings

Without a translated menu, you risk misunderstanding many things—first, a customer’s food allergies. Having a correctly translated menu allows each customer to know the ingredients of each dish and avoid allergic reactions. Gluten, for example, is not only contained in pasta and bread. Without a translated menu, the waiter could also provide the customer with an unclear explanation, which generates false expectations. Imagine if you were brought a steak that is rare instead of well done. This mistake costs you the satisfaction of your customer.

How to translate the menu well into English?

We know the advantages of translating the menu into English. The question
that now arises is: how can I optimally translate my menu? First of all, it is not recommended to do it yourself. No matter how well you understand the language, it is always advisable to consult a professional. It is also essential to pay the utmost attention to more technical translations, especially when talking about traditional recipes, allergens, intolerances, and quantities. A good translation must be well understood and stimulate the appetite in the same way as in Italian. For this reason, it is not enough to translate the original text literally word for word. Instead, it is necessary to focus on the different semantic nuances that allow you to get to the customer’s heart and appetite!

Turning to a translation professional is the first step to take if you want to expand your business. To find out how to best translate your local CONTACT US menu, we are available to help you go international.

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written by eleonora the 9 December, 2020


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