Swindon translation firm Dialogue gives Jamie’s posh chips and lamb lollipops an international flavour

August 28, 2014

Staff at Swindon-based language services firm Dialogue have been getting their tongues around some tasty translations after winning a contract to work on the menus for overseas branches of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian restaurants.

Dialogue is working with the award-winning chef-turned-entrepreneur’s team to translate the highly-individualised menus for new restaurants in Hong Kong, Istanbul, St Petersburg and Stockholm.

But retaining Jamie Oliver’s persona and passion and using his unique expressive vocabulary is proving a challenge even for Dialogue’s vastly-experienced staff as they look to translate the names of some of the restaurants chain’s signature dishes into Cantonese, Turkish, Russian and Swedish.  

Translation director Cathy Branson said: “It is much harder than it seems. Try rendering terms like ‘posh chips’ or ‘lamb lollipops’ into intelligible and yet equally whacky local equivalents.”

So diners in the Hong Kong Jamie’s Italian will be tucking into ‘rich guy’s chips’ (闊佬薯條) as a localised name for ‘posh chips’ which – as there is no literal equivalent of the very English word ‘posh’ – still conveys the notion of the premium ingredients used in this dish.

Restaurant editor at Jamie’s, Steph Howson, said Dialogue was selected for the task because the firm “understands our needs and always works hard to meet our incredibly-demanding turnaround times”.

She added: “Because our menus are in so many different languages, it’s great to be able to maintain consistency across them all, especially as we use some really specific terminology.”

Dialogue employs eight staff at its Swindon base backed by a team of more than 200 teachers and 800-plus translators around the world.

The firm, whose services span translation, language training, interpreting, voiceovers and transcription, has been operating for more than 20 years and has just completed its 5,000th translation project. It has worked for major firms in the Swindon area such as Dyson, Honda, BMW, Renault and MAN and recently completed the web translation for Energizer Holdings.

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