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Translation of Italian Recipes: Localization?


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What are you cooking? Is it a translation of an original Italian recipe or is it modified for the tastes of another country?

Translation - Translation is mostly about the conversion of a document from one language to another. The document is kept as it was originally intended and written, therefore having the same meaning.

Localization - Then translation may involve localization. This is when the translation is completed ‘and’ adjusted for the target audience. The meaning remains.

Now let’s talk about Italian food. Generally when I want to try an Italian recipe, I look for a version from where the recipe is from. Why? Because recipes get localized too!

The Italian people keep to strict recipes. They also know that certain regions of the country are best for certain foods. For instance Naples for Pizza and Genoa for Focaccia.

So why do any recipes get localised?

4 Reasons for Recipe Localization

1) To meet the tastes of the new market – The original blend of flavours is not quite to the tastes of the country where it has been adopted.
2) Unable to find the ingredients – Maybe the ingredients just do not exist in the new country. Or maybe they are prohibitively expensive.
3) Unable to obtain the ingredients with the same flavours – The meat is not as salty perhaps?
4) Time – Let’s face it; people are always looking for ways to make things faster and easier.

Italian recipes are not designed to be speeded up. The pasta should often be ‘al dente’ not stodgy like in a Pizza Hut. Italian food is generally a few simple ‘good quality’ ingredients. It’s the quality of those ingredients, the ability of the chef and of course the pallet of the consumer that make the difference.

For me, the localization of recipes should only be carried out if you are unable to find the ingredients required and then it becomes a different dish. The Indian dish ‘Chicken Tikka Marsala’ is a good example. It was created from the available ingredients 25 years ago in Birmingham. Not a localization of an existing dish. Ironically, the dish can now be found in restaurants in India.

I believe that recipe translation is all that is generally required. So the next time you are searching the web for a recipe, please consider whether you want to search a little harder and try the real recipe.

For more information about Italian translation visit http://www.axistranslations.com

The author has worked internationally for many years and is now co-owner of the translation and interpreting agency ‘Axis Translations’ where you can find assistance with a wide range of language matters. His interests include all things Italian, especially the food. For more information visit www.axistranslations.com










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