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A comparative study on translations of daily and banquet menus

English Abstract

Macao has developed into a cosmopolitan city attracting more foreign tourists, many of whom are fascinated by the Chinese culture, or simply by its cuisine. Although Macao is an international city, many foreigners are dumbfounded when they read the translated Chinese dish names in some Chinese restaurants in Macao. Poor translations of Chinese dish names mislead foreigners. Our pilot study shows that Chinese dish names do not simply show the various ingredients, taste, fragrance, color, etc., but also carry plenty of cultural elements. Therefore, as translators, it is vital to translate the Chinese menus correctly. Since marriages between Chinese and foreigners have become more common, banquet menus are designed with English translations, too. Daily menu and banquet menu translations are different in many ways due to the impact of cultural factors. The present study collected a number of Daily and Banquet menus from 10 famous restaurants and hotels in Macao. 200 dish names from the collected menus were classified into different categories and analyzed for better elaboration. A comparative study was conducted on translations of Daily and Banquet menus from a cultural perspective. By doing this analysis, cultural differences between Daily and Banquet menus and the influence of cultural factors in the translation process were examined. In conjunction with it, translation strategies on domestication and foreignization and methods in translating dish names were investigated. This thesis tries to find whether there is a clear tendency towards using domestication in dealing with culturally loaded dish names. The findings indicate that the strategies of domestication and translation methods are mainly adopted in translating both Chinese Daily and Banquet menus into English. Some implications of the findings are also discussed.

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U, Man Ieng


Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities


Department of English




Translating and interpreting

Translating and interpreting -- Macau


Chinese language -- Translating into English



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