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ISO French menu translator & general phrase book

ISO French menu translator & general phrase book

Feb 12th, 2007, 01:48 PM
  #1  
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ISO French menu translator & general phrase book

We leave for France in 9 weeks, and unfortunately I have only learned a few phrases in French. I would appreciate recommendations for a small, easy-to-carry book that has sections teaching the most commonly needed phrases, plus a two-way dictionary to look up specific words.

I also would appreciate recommendations for a small book that I can carry into restaurants to translate menus. TIA.
Kay_SD is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 01:53 PM
  #2  
 
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Here's a PDF you can download and print: http://www.patriciawells.com/glossar...d_glossary.pdf

I have it loaded on my iPAQ PPC so I can machine-scan it for specific terms.

I also have language dictionaries on the same computer. Makes for a very compact load to carry.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 01:56 PM
  #3  
lawchick
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IMHO there is no such thing as a small book to translate menus. I'm fluent and I still can't understand many things on the menus. I have this massive French/English culinary dictionary at home - which I read constantly - and still often I need an explanation from the waiter.

Just pick up any small phrase book - like Berlitz - and that will have a few menu pages in it.
 
Feb 12th, 2007, 02:08 PM
  #4  
 
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I second Robespierre's suggestion.
If you must buy one (my wife carries this one; I carry the PDA) buy the Marling Menu Master for France. It is small enough for a purse or pocket and contains other essential info about French restaurants and menus.
robjame is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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I third Robespierre's suggestion. We spend 2 months in France almost every year, and Patricia Wells menu translator is the only one that works for us. Sometimes the name of a fish will be the same in two different regions in France - but it's a different fish depending on the region. Particia Wells' translator will point that out.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 12th, 2007, 02:26 PM
  #6  
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The Patricia Wells glossary looks very useful -- I just wish it were in a smaller format.

I do not have a true hand-held computer, but I do have a Motorola Q phone my company gave me. I am afraid I am not very techno proficient. Do any of you know if I could download the glossary or a language dictionary into a Q?

I have looked at Marling on Amazon and that also looked useful, I just was not sure of the age of the book.
Kay_SD is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 02:29 PM
  #7  
lawchick
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One of my earlier tricks was to learn off the names of all the things I don't like - like Eel, Brains, Horse, Liver etc. - and then at least I could avoid them!
 
Feb 12th, 2007, 02:44 PM
  #8  
 
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A year ago or so I sent away for a free glossary, similar to P. Wells'; the address was on a thread here, I'm almost sure. It was more compact for traveling that the downloaded pages (unless you travel with a pc). Anyone know what I'm talking about?
grandmere is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 03:13 PM
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A couple of years ago Lonely Planet put out a tiny book entitled "World Food: France" or something like that. It had a translator in the back half of the book. In practice it was far from complete but came in handy a few times. The guides to various markets and so forth were nice, too. The book is very small, and you could even rip the dictionary part out to save even more weight.
fnarf999 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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You can download the Word version and shrink it several ways.

http://www.patriciawells.com/glossar...d_glossary.doc

You might even be able to squeeze it into a phone.

But there's really no substitute for searching it with a computer.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 03:48 PM
  #11  
 
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Yes, grandmere. It's one I helped put together and I'm happy to email it to anyone who wants it ([email protected])
StCirq is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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I'm with Lawchick on this one. Ask yourself, how many times did you need the waiter's help at home, with florid phrasing on an English-language menu? If you venture much beyond steak-frites a menu dictionary is not going to solve many of your problems during nine weeks in France, and if the menu is handwritten, God save you! Better to take what come and hope the waiting person speaks some English.
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Sorry about the nine-week confusion! Otherwise, we fondly recall our first sortie at an Italian restaurant, on the other side of the Arno in Florence, with a "Menu Master" in hand. The menu was handwritten. We couldn't make out a word, and no one on the staff spoke English. Somehow, a deal was stuck: They would bring food and we would eat it. It was a great meal!
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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I have communicated in about a dozen languages by using a phrase book I carry.

Rather than attempt the phonetic pronunciation of Suomi in rural Finland, I find the English for what I want to convey, hold the book open and point to the phrase. I then offer the book for the response. Never fails.

The same is sure to work in France - regardless of who wrote the menu.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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I have the Eating and Drinking in France book by Andy Herbach and Michael Dillon and I have found it to be so useful. It is small and fits into my little purse. It is in alphabetical order. I have found very few items on a menu that I couldn't figure out what it was. Have a fun trip!
cls2paris is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 05:24 AM
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Hi Robespierre,

I agree that if you open your phrase book and point to the French word for beef, you're likely to get beef. But what if the waiting person, trying to accommodate, asks whether you'd prefer daube de queue de boeuf or estauffade Provencale? I don't rule out that a menu/food dictionary might help answer those questions. But those are the easy ones. It can be quite a bit more challenging.
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:23 AM
  #17  
 
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A nice free glossary that you can download or email and request a hard-copy is found:
http://www.intimatefrance.com/glossary.html

But I do like the above-mentioned Eating and Drinking in Paris by Herbach...
Travelnut is offline  

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