Translating Dominihave the right to Foods into English: What happens when the food in question is unrecognized or not that widespread in the English-speaking world?


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As component of our tiremuch less quest to bring Dominican cooking and legacies to as worldwide an audience as possible, we execute challenge the occasional obstacle. Translating Dominideserve to foods right into English, for one. Many of our terminology is straightforward sufficient – arroz is rice, habichuelas are beans, café is coffee, and so forth.

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But what happens once the food in question is unwell-known or not that widespread in the English-speaking world? There might be a word for it in the dictionary, but will readers from outside the DR recognize what we’re talking about?

Take tayota (pictured above), for instance. Tayota does have actually an English translation, christophene or christophine--mirliton in some of Louisiana--yet that name is so obscure that even spellcheck balks. We chose rather to usage its Meso-Amerihave the right to name chayote, which is fairly acquainted to English speakers, as this is what it tends to be referred to as in the US. And spellinspect wholeheartedly agrees.


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Genipa americana, or jagua in the Dominideserve to Republic

How to pick a name

Tropical fruits like jagua and zapote that are not mainstream in English-speaking nations pose more of a difficulty. The method we go around translating food names is as follows: using a search engine, we find the Latin scientific name. In the instance of jagua it is Genipa americana, and looking on the clinical name will certainly generally take you to botanical websites or Wikipedia, giving a list of widespread names. Wikipedia on jagua:

“It is commonly called Genipapo or Huito; the alternate name Jagua may refer to various other species of Genipa also. To the Inca, it was known as hawa or wituq. In the British islands of the West Indies, it was referred to as the marmalade box.”

Now all we need to do is choose which name to go with, or whether simply to usage the original name. I think in the situation of jagua we don"t have much choice. Same with zapote, which is translated right into English ssuggest as sapote: we may as well use the original.


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Yuca, well-known as cassava or manioc in English
When it involves tubers, those essential ingredients of Dominideserve to cuisine --we currently wrote a substantial overview on those-- this is as soon as the real fun starts. First of all, the word tuber is not self-explanatory to many except for those in the recognize, so we have to probably speak to them roots, or root vegetables. Then, just how to analyze them? Yuca can sound favor it should be dubbed “yucca”, and indeed, tbelow is such a point as yucca in English yet it is an ornamental plant. The tuber, or root, is actually referred to as cassava in English, and of course, it is no coincidence that the bread made through yuca/cassava is referred to as casabe. Having sassist that, it’s additionally likely that the word “yucca” in English will certainly eventually come to intend cassava with intake. The other prevalent word for yuca that some might acknowledge is manioc.

Some known English names for yautía blanca are taro, malanga and also dasheen, but the many typically used name is taro. To add confusion to the plate, there’s a yautía amarilla (an unassociated root), which is ideal well-known as malanga. Ñame, a renowned root in the Dominican Republic is generally rendered as yam, however this have the right to be confusing as yam in the US might be supplied to define a sweet potato (the orange-flemelted array, not the Dominideserve to batata). Ñame have the right to also be dubbed taro or dasheen, yet confusingly those are also offered as translations for yautía, as we have currently seen.


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Guandules in the Dominihave the right to Republic, pigeon peas in English
So it"s not always clear-cut and the solution we"d discovered is to offer the name in Spanish and the many prevalent name in English.

Language and also consumption is in consistent development, and also as previously unknown foodstuffs travel and also end up being internationalised, what they come to be referred to as - either via common usage or some marketing executive’s random decision - is anyone’s guess.

How to translate the names of dishes

For the names of the dishes whose recipes we share in our blog the technique we use is different. It is constantly much easier as soon as the dish has a Dominican name that explains it. In that situation we try to simply interpret word for word. For example, queso frito is simply "fried cheese". Simple.

Things are a little bit even more facility as soon as we translate dishes via proper names, which would certainly have actually no interpretation in English. In that situation, we describe the dish or the food preparation process. For instance, for tostones, we use "twice-fried plantain", which is the method through which they are cooked. Mangú we analyzed as "maburned plantains", which is the simplest means to describe this dish.

This is not a specific science, and also not all our readers agree through our translations.

At the end of the day, even disagreements around just how we analyze these might lead to conversations with our readers, which we love. It is frequently they who help us in this task.

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Which vegetable offers you the the majority of trouble? Which of our translations have you disagreed with? We"d love to hear...