Gov't tackles mistranslated Korean menu items

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Gov't tackles mistranslated Korean menu items

A menu tag describes fried yellowtail as "fried defense" in this photo taken at an unidentified restaurant in 2013. Yellowtail is pronounced in Korean "Bang-uh," which also means defense. Such mismatched Korean-English translations are found on many restaurant menus. / Korea Times file

Guideline will ensure correct English translation of Korean dishes

By Park Si-soo

What would you imagine if you read "six times" written on a restaurant menu as the name of a dish? Or how about "dynamic stew" or "mountain bowl"?


These are carelessly translated English names of Korean foods that have caused many foreigners to burst into laughter. These mistranslations occur because people ignorant of the English language translated the names of dishes from Korean, without consulting linguistic experts.

Some of these awkward eyebrow-raising names have gone viral on social networking websites, drawing unwelcome attention. Nevertheless the names are still found at many restaurants here, including upscale places.

Despite criticism, restaurants have been unable to correct them due to a lack of language specialists committed to supervising English-language menus.

Against this backdrop, the government has taken a bold step to get things right, in coordination with the Korean Food Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to overseas promotion of Korean food.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Monday that the two organizations have jointly translated 50 of the most sought-after Korean dishes into English. A guidebook containing the names was distributed to nearly 3,300 restaurants across the country, according to the ministry.

In the guidelines, "six times" becomes "beef tartare," while "dynamic stew" is "Pollack stew" and "mountain bowl", "wild vegetable bibimbap."

"This is the first step to get Korean food names written correctly in English," a ministry official said. "There are still many things that need to be done. We will make continuing efforts to promote Korean food with correct names, which will contribute to elevating its international profile and awareness."




Korean Language

곰탕은 'Bear Tang' 아니라 'Gomtang'

농림축산식품부와 한식재단은 '한식메뉴 외국어 표기법 50선'을 마련해 외식업체와 음식점 메뉴판 제작업체 등 3천300여개 업체에 배포했다고 5일 밝혔다.

한식메뉴의 올바른 외국어 표기법을 홍보해 한국을 찾는 외국인 관광객에게 한식을 제대로 알리려는 취지다.

이번에 마련한 한식메뉴 외국어 표기법은 국립국어원이 지난해 발표한 주요 한식명 로마자 표기·번역 표준안을 바탕으로 만들어졌다.

예를 들면 곰탕의 올바른 로마자 표기는 'gomtang', 영어 번역은 'beef bone soup'이다. 중국어와 일본어 표기는 각각 '精熬牛骨湯', 'コムタン'이다.

갈비찜(galbi-jjim·braised short ribs), 김치찌개(kimchi-jjigae·kimchi stew), 삼겹살(samgyeopsal·grilled pork belly), 육회(yukhoe·beef tartare) 등 외국인이 많이 먹는 한식 메뉴 50개의 외국어 표기가 담겼다.

한국 음식에 대한 세계인의 관심이 높아지고 있지만 국내외 외식업체에서 쓰는 한식메뉴 외국어 표기가 제각각이어서 혼란을 불러일으킨다고 농식품부는 설명했다.

올바른 한식메뉴 외국어 표기 정착이 미흡해 'bear tang'(곰탕), 'six times'(육회), 'dynamic stew'(생태찌개), 'knife-cut noodle'(칼국수) 같은 엉터리 번역이 웃음거리로 전락하는 실정이다.

농식품부 관계자는 '우리나라를 찾는 외국인에게 우리 음식을 정확하게 알리고 제대로 맛볼 수 있도록 노력해야 한식이 세계 음식문화를 선도해나갈 수 있다'고 말했다. (연합뉴스)



A menu tag describes fried yellowtail as "fried defense" in this photo taken at an unidentified restaurant in 2013. Yellowtail is pronounced in Korean "Bang-uh," which also means defense. Such mismatched Korean-English translations are found on many restaurant menus. / Korea Times file

Guideline will ensure correct English translation of Korean dishes

By Park Si-soo

What would you imagine if you read "six times" written on a restaurant menu as the name of a dish? Or how about "dynamic stew" or "mountain bowl"?


These are carelessly translated English names of Korean foods that have caused many foreigners to burst into laughter. These mistranslations occur because people ignorant of the English language translated the names of dishes from Korean, without consulting linguistic experts.

Some of these awkward eyebrow-raising names have gone viral on social networking websites, drawing unwelcome attention. Nevertheless the names are still found at many restaurants here, including upscale places.

Despite criticism, restaurants have been unable to correct them due to a lack of language specialists committed to supervising English-language menus.

Against this backdrop, the government has taken a bold step to get things right, in coordination with the Korean Food Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to overseas promotion of Korean food.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Monday that the two organizations have jointly translated 50 of the most sought-after Korean dishes into English. A guidebook containing the names was distributed to nearly 3,300 restaurants across the country, according to the ministry.

In the guidelines, "six times" becomes "beef tartare," while "dynamic stew" is "Pollack stew" and "mountain bowl", "wild vegetable bibimbap."

"This is the first step to get Korean food names written correctly in English," a ministry official said. "There are still many things that need to be done. We will make continuing efforts to promote Korean food with correct names, which will contribute to elevating its international profile and awareness."


Park Si-soo pss@koreatimes.co.kr


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