I am reliably informed that today is the beginning of a monumentous countdown: there is exactly one year left until the start of the World Cup 2014!
As the major cities in Brazil continue to prepare for the event, one aspect I find particularly interesting is the language barrier. The more touristic cities such as Rio de Janeiro do of course have plenty of people that speak basic English, at the touristic attractions and in hotels and restaurants. If the press is to be believed, Belo Horizonte has been focusing instead on teaching English to its prostitutes.
OK, OK. I am joking! Even though that is a true story.
Hotels will always hire multi-lingual staff, but restaurants in Belo Horizonte would do well to make sure they have some staff with basic English language skills. Please don’t misunderstand me here. I don’t normally go to restaurants in Brazil and think that the staff ought to speak English! However, in anticipation of a much greater number of foreign tourists next year, I do think those places that don’t take proactive steps with the language barrier will miss out.
A quick and affordable way for restaurants to address part of the problem is by having an English menu available. However, without a proper translation, this can be more of a hindrance than help!
I love reading the English translations in menus here in Brazil. My favourite translation so far was for ‘cheiro verde’ – translated (literally) into English as ‘green smell’! In fact, it’s just parsley.
I also heard recently about a menu where ‘frango ao molho pardo‘ had been translated into ‘chicken in brown sauce’. This doesn’t sound too bad, but don’t you think the unsuspecting customer should be informed that the sauce is made with chicken’s blood? Eek!
What’s the funniest menu translation you’ve seen in Brazil?