Translating recipes?

Subject: Translating recipes?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 08:50:23 -0500

Erika Yanovich opined: <<I don't think recipes can be translated. Not
because of the problem with different units of measure (which can be solved
quite easily), but because the ingredients available in different countries
differ widely. That can change the whole process or the proportion between
the ingtredients, so we are not talking about translation anymore, rather
the whole recipe should be tested.>>

On the contrary, translating recipes is pretty much the perfect metaphor for
translation in general. First, the measures often differ; that's exactly
analogous to having different standards by which things are evaluated, and
having to re-express concepts so they make sense in the new context. Second,
the ingredients may differ because of unavailability; many languages have
terms unique to themselves (e.g., the French "frisson", the Chinese
"mianzi"), that don't exist in other languages, and yet the concepts can
still be expressed clearly with a little ingenuity, and hence understood.
Third, translation, like cooking, is as much art as science, and different
"cooks" have entirely different approaches to producing the same result:
something both edible and edifying.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur. (Oh! Was I
speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips

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