Culture Discovery Vacations Blog

Having a craving for Grilled Flesh

Grilled Flesh… YUM!

When I lived here in Soriano, I was, quite simply, ‘The American”. In fact, the immigrant population of the area consisted of me, two Brits and a Brazilian. Outside of that, nobody spoke a word of English. My, how things can change over the course of 20+ years.

A few years ago a company bought a beautiful palace in the town and converted it into a hotel, which is marketed toward Brits and Americans. One night I was eating in one of the local cafes, and every table surrounding mine was occupied by Brits and Americans. It just felt wrong. 20 years ago, I used to eat at this place regularly. It was a little place for the locals. Now they even have an English menu.

So what of this ‘ENGLISH MENU’?
This is not the only place to have one. Every restaurant and cafe in town has a translated menu. The problem is that the rush of english-speaking tourists is new to them, and they haven’t quite gotten their act together yet. Every menu in town is poorly translated. For example, one place (this one beats all in the bad translation contest) offers ‘Bistecca alla griglia’. The correct translation is ‘Grilled Steak’. Unfortunately, whoever it was that looked up the word ‘Bistecca’ made a critical error, as they translated it to ‘FLESH‘. So, while in Soriano Nel Cimino, you can order Grilled Flesh at a local cafe. Tasty! Other menu items to be found include ‘Pizza’s Pocket’ (for Calzone), ‘Tomato’s Cherry’ for ‘Cherry Tomatoes’, etc. It goes on and on.

I think whoever is doing the translations is having a blast with Babelfish. The problem is that this covers official translations as well. You will find placards next to historical monuments that have unintelligible descriptions. For example, the town tourist board’s home page offers this delightful description of Soriano nel Cimino:

“The lucky hilly position, the mild climate, the wood’s healthy air, together with its history, arts and tradition, make Soriano nel Cimino the ideal place where to spend a serene and pleasant stay or a vacation in every season”

One would think they might find someone that actually speaks English  (Hey look! There is Michael!)… We do exist, after all.  Hmmm, no, not Michael… He speaks ‘American’, not English.  Ugh!
Nonetheless, it is all part of the charm and certainly makes for great fun.

Ciao,

Michael

4 thoughts on “Having a craving for Grilled Flesh

  1. Catherine

    LOL “He speaks American, not English.” That line was so funny. I’ve heard that as a joke from my boyfriend. Not knowing he was joking, I said, “what are you talking about? It’s the same language, except there are only some differences in pronunciation and some different words for what we call things.” Example subway/metro/underground.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..What’s Cooking Wednesday: Spinach with Lemon =-.

    1. Michael Post author

      hehehe… I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have told me thy speak perfect English, then once I began to speak to them in English, thy said they couldn’t understand a word I was saying. The excuse is invariably that they speak “ENGLISH”, not “AMERICAN”. Each time I switch to a british accent without saying a word, and they continue to insist that they speak ENGLISH, not AMERICAN. I try to explain that it is not a matter of dialect, but one of a few words and spellings that change (Z/Zed, Trunk/Boot, Diapers/Nappies, Stroller/Pushchair, Elevator/Lift, Apartment/Flat, Color/Colour, Theatre/Theater, etc.), but they refuse to believe me :-). Oh well, pride is pride 🙂

  2. arwen

    It’s bisteCCa alla griglia! Ok, Italian people make mistake writing and speaking in English but when i was abroad, also in Uk and Ireland, i read many errors in english menu traslated in italian!!!!

    1. Michael Post author

      Yes, I made a typo there. I admittedly have trouble with double and single consonants in Italian. I also would NEVER provide my services as an English to Italian translator, as while I am sufficiently fluent in the language, I am quite aware that my writing skills are not up to the task. That said, yes… you will find awful errors when finding translations from any language TO any language. In fact, I believe if you dig deep into this blog, you will find mention of some awful mistakes I have seen by people here in the States. However, the point of the post was simply that English is a much more global and common language, and resources available in Italy to use native speakers are not in short supply. Yet, the mistakes found on a daily basis, everywhere, and even by large corporations, are rarely limited to simple misspelling. They are more often so poorly translated as o make no sense whatever. That said, take the light hearted post for what it is.. Good fun.

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