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Menu translation project


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There are quite a few restaurants in Beijing which have menus in both English and Chinese. These are gold-dust to me and I read through them while eating my meal trying to learn more about Chinese cuisine, terminology and to branch out from the waiguocai (gongbao jiding, shao qiezi etc)

The idea occured to me that I could type all the dishes up, enter them onto a database on a website and people could leave comments such as corrections (necessary I'm sure) or just their own opinion of the dish 'try this now!' 'don't bother' etc.

Has something like this already been done?

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If you had a database of menus, it would be interesting to see the distribution of dishes throughout China. The project could be combined with google earth!

As for ratings, it makes more sense to rate dishes for a particular restaurant, but you could aggregate that information to see whether a dish is generally good.

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I don't know of such a project, but I do know that MIT has a rather nice document about Chinese menus. I will try to post it here later.

I think it would be a really good idea for a project, a resource that many students of Chinese can benefit from. Reading a Chinese menu is not an easy task!

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There are a couple really funny compilations of Chinese restaurant menu translation mistakes making the rounds on the Internet now.

I recently came across one at the movie theater near the Yanshan Hotel in Beijing's Haidian District, where the snack bar's 烤肠 is translated as "Roast The Bowel"


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Somehow I missed this thread until now. By chance, I have a thread with a similar name and purpose (but not really going anywhere lately) on my own website:


The discussion includes a link to a site with a wealth of menus in both English and encoded Chinese which can be useful for a starting point in developing a database of Chinese Restaurant dished, with two limitations: the menus are in traditional Chinese, and the dishes are heavily oriented toward Cantonese and Chinese-American food.

Particular thanks to novemeberfog for the MIT document, which I plan to add to my website as a resource.

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hmm, I thought of this after reading this post (sorry to leech on, but it's somewhat related I guess...)

are there any good references for fish names??


English<=> Latin <=> Chinese

the Latin/scientific name isn't really necessary, but it wouldn't hurt...

I'm usually in the dark when it comes to ordering fish...but also knowing fish names for non-eating purposes would be good too =)

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I read in a German newspaper that due to the Olympic games 2008 Beijing wants to provide better translations (in English) of (street) signs. Queer translations like 'Deformed man' (disabled people), 'Racist park', 'Show mercy to the slender grass', 'Question authority' would be a relict.

A team of Chinese and English linguists would do the job. Chinese menus would also be newly translated. An official handbook with good translations of about 1000 meals names would be provided.

Q: Does anybody know at which site the menu translations are? Thanks!

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don't ask why i know this one, but a plastron is the flat part/ belly of a tortoise shell.

i believe it's an ingredient in gelatin.

my ex (3x-removed) girlfriend used to buy yoghurt-size containers of black squares of

jello(?). she said it kept the wee tiny hairs from growing on her forearms. i'm pretty

sure it was for eatin' and not for rubbin'.

better stick with the xo sauce.

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