Help Translating Menus!

Old Mar 8th, 1999, 03:30 PM
  #1  
Barbara
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Help Translating Menus!

I had a successful trip to Switzerland last fall, and the only real difficulty my husband and I encountered was trying to decipher all the items on menus at restaurants. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions? Is there some sort of translator for food items? Thanks for the input!
 
Old Mar 8th, 1999, 03:39 PM
  #2  
Cheryl Z.
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Barbara, I carry little paperback phrasebooks to help me out. They always have food listings. I'm a vegetarian too, and these have often helped.
 
Old Mar 8th, 1999, 05:16 PM
  #3  
Flora
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I carry the Marling Menu-Master. I have one for Italy and one for France. They also publish for Germany and Spain. It is very complete and small enough so that you will not be conspicuous at the table. Good luck.
 
Old Mar 8th, 1999, 09:48 PM
  #4  
Donna
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I took a menu translator to Switzerland which was enormously helpful - once I realized that you had to look up each and every syllable. It's best to familiarize yourself with the local specialties, and figure out ahead of your trip the words for foods you particularly like, and those you don't. I wish I had discovered "Veal Zurich" earlier in our trip.
 
Old Mar 9th, 1999, 04:31 AM
  #5  
Doug
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Get the Marling Menu-Master series. I bought mine 15 years ago and am still using them. I've even found interesting dishes in the guide that weren't on the establishment's menu, and after showing it to the waiter, the chef willingly created that item for me. The chefs at the Ratskeller in Munchen came out of the kitchen to see how much we enjoyed their "experiment" with an unfamiliar veal dish - it was fantastic.
 
Old Mar 10th, 1999, 08:43 AM
  #6  
Joanne
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I have been a firm believer in taking along phrasebooks - last week, I bought a Franklin 5 language European translator. It cost $19, and is about the size of a credit card. I played with it for awhile, then gave it to my kids. They were able to very quickly figure out how to use it, then they taught me! It is extremely simple. For instance, type "train". It will not only give you the noun and verb, but will suggest 13 other related phrases, such as "at what platform does the train to _____ leave?" and "Where can I purchase a train ticket?" etc.

We worked on ordering in French and Italian, and it similarly works very well. I was surprised at how efficient it was.
 
Old Mar 10th, 1999, 01:33 PM
  #7  
Caryn
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Brush up on the language of your destination country by using this website:
http://www.travlang.com/languages/index.html
 
Old Mar 10th, 1999, 07:51 PM
  #8  
kel
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Joanne, Can you tell me where you purchased your Franklin translator?
I will be traveling alone and having an electronic translator will give me a little more sense of security and will take up much less room than several phrasebooks.
 
Old Mar 11th, 1999, 06:50 AM
  #9  
Bob Brown
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ditto on the Franklin Translator.
I would like to get one.
But where??
 
Old Mar 11th, 1999, 07:03 AM
  #10  
Joanne
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I bought my translator at Best Buy in Minneapolis. I don't know if that is a national chain or not, but any electronics store should carry it. Otherwise, go to this website. They offer the product at $25, still a great deal.

http://www.franklin.com/estore/translators/twe106/

My model number is twe106a

Have fun!
 
Old Mar 11th, 1999, 08:10 AM
  #11  
Bob Brown
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Best Buy is national; at least, we have the in Georgia - including Athens.
Thanks so very much for your information. I have seen those gadgets, but never in a place where I could test them. I got burned on a language course on CD;s. It was said to be one used by the State Department. I found it to be of poor quality sound wise and language wise. Endless repeating of
semi useless sentences like Wo sind die Zigarren? Sie sind dort druben.
And Wo ist der Banhof? Er ist dort druben. Or some such nonesene repeated ad infinitum ad naseum. But nothing about food or getting a hotel room.
 
Old Mar 11th, 1999, 09:41 AM
  #12  
elaine
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Bob, your last posting made me smile.
I used Italian tapes last summer, and in addition to the more useful phrases, they felt it important for me to know how to ask Italians "Would you like to come to my house on Sunday to play bridge?" and "Is the pineapple expensive?"
 
Old Mar 11th, 1999, 10:13 AM
  #13  
martha
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The first thing my husband's Italian tapes (the Pimsleur method) taught him to say was "I understand Italian"--only not in idiomatic Italian. I can't figure out what the logic was behind that.
The Berlitz language guide that includes handy phrases in twelve languages thinks one of the basic phrases you'll want to use with strangers is "Do you live alone?"
 
Old Mar 11th, 1999, 10:34 PM
  #14  
Joanna
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Berlitz has a 12 language booklet about ordering food/deciphering menus which is small enough to keep in a jacket pocket.
 
Old Mar 12th, 1999, 01:58 PM
  #15  
Bob Brown
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I ordered the Franklin translator, same model you described, directly from Franklin. The person I spoke with at the local Best Buy seemed surprised that anybody wanted something in a foreign language. Like why?

By the way that German CD set I spent a goodly price for was sold with a Barron's label. I think it is semi useless. At least one hears spoken German even if Wo sind die Zigarren? is useless to me. I like that do you live alone gambit. Rates right up there with "Do you come here often?" Good way to get smacked I would think, particularly if I asked it of some young thing.
 
Old Mar 12th, 1999, 02:05 PM
  #16  
elaine
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One has to be careful with using dictionaries also.
If you want to say that you have finished eating and are feeling full,
don't just look up the word "full".
You'll find "plein", but if you say "Je suis plein" you will be saying in a slightly vulgar way that you are pregnant.
 
Old Mar 13th, 1999, 12:19 PM
  #17  
Joanne
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My hobby is collecting used and rare books, so I pick up strange books all the time. I absentmindedly bought what I thought was a small Italian phrasebook. Turns out the book is entitled "Wicked Italian for the Traveler". Some of these phrases are certainly more helpful than that German CD:

"Shopping in Italy": Meglio che ne prenda quelle pantofole di coccodrillo prima che finiscano. (I had better buy a pair of those crocodile loafters before they're extinct.)

"You Can Win at Hotel Negotiation": Quattro stelle un accidente! Direi quattro cani, invece! (Four stars my ass! More like four dogs, I'd say!)

"Beautiful Names of Revolting Dishes": Sono davvero allergica alle anguille sotto aceto. (I'm violently allergic to pickled eels.

"Your Medical Emergency": Lui si e attaccato alla bottiglia dell'olio d'oliva. (He started drinking the olive oil straight.)

"Shouting in Traffic": Ma e pazzo? Speriamo che all'inferno le insegneranno a guidare! (What are you, crazy? Maybe they will teach you to drive in hell!)

Keep smiling, everyone.
 
Old Mar 13th, 1999, 12:48 PM
  #18  
s.fowler
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Thanks Joanne! I'm still chuckling.

Does anyone know the "Henri de la Barbee" books? "Advanced French for Exceptional Cats" has a hilarious section on a cat's-eye view of Paris and its delights!

My memory of useless foreign language instruction comes from the time I took an Adult evening class in Russian while I was in high school. We used the current army manual. I learned to order a beer and ask for the men's room! [A man I'm *not*!]

Re: "plein" I believe the _safe_ phrase is "J'ai plein."
 
Old Mar 13th, 1999, 12:49 PM
  #19  
s.fowler
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I should mention that the army manual was from the late 1950's!
 

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