Pili Rodríguez Deus/ March 6, 2020/ courses

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How to specialise in culinary translation: Trágora's course

Picasso's monster hands

If you're wondering how to specialise in culinary translation, here's my experience with the culinary translation course offered by Trágora Formación (English into Spanish).



A 3-month course that requires 120-180 hours study depending on how much you can, or want, to put in. That works at around two full days per week or two hours per day minimum.


But, first, do you really want to be a food translator?

If you've never translated food texts before, the menus and recipes chosen for this course will most certainly test your translation skills, your research skills, your common sense, and your desire to be a food translator! What to say of the glossary building, particularly in the meat department, or the fruitful land of false friends and false equivalents?

Did you also want to test your copywriting and transcreation skills? Did you dream of researching the most obscure food terms and translating super creative product reviews and award winning restaurant critiques? Promise: you won't get bored. Though when you look at those meat charts you may well decide this is not for the fainthearted.


The admin side of things

  • Enrolling was easy-peasy.
  • Getting your certificate was quick.
  • The course coordinator is very friendly and sends monthly emails to check how you are progressing and if you need any help.
  • Feedback was promptly provided, even when the tutor was busy.


The learning materials

  • The online platform is easy to navigate and it’s easy to download your learning resources.
  • The texts are very well selected. In theory, of increasing difficulty, though I'd find it hard to decide which one was the most challenging, probably a scientific article despite being one of the texts I did best in.
  • The materials are very well written using clear language, a professional structure and visuals. They are all in PDF format, which makes them easy to navigate and take notes from. Although I was expecting videos, my disappointment soon dissipated.
  • There are a couple of videos that Trágora has produced where the tutor is interviewed about menu translation and about interpreting in cookery courses (links at the end). These were the factor that convinced me to choose this course, because they gave me an insight into Rosa’s work and, importantly, teaching style. Having watched them, I knew the course would be extremely well organised.


What I loved about the teaching

  • Enthusiasm and unparalleled dedication. Lots of discussion backwards and forwards.
  • Unsurpassed individual support. Able to quickly gage your strengths and weaknesses, Rosa will focus on ironing out the creases.
  • Vast doses of encouragement throughout.
  • No spoon-feeding. Just hints, when needed, to find answers by yourself.
  • Great feedback. Rigorous and appropriate corrections will be enveloped it in a sea of praise. Rosa will take the time to list all the good aspects of a piece of work together with those that need refining so that you learn but don't loose the will to live. Believe me, food translation is: HARD.
  • Friendly but professional. You will not get away with any excuses, including lack of familiarity with a text or job type.
  • Lots of tips and insider input.
  • Seeing my interest, Rosa suggested various books on food history.


Ten things you will learn or do

  • Analyse texts before translation
  • Convert measures
  • Compile and organise a useful food glossary
  • Analyse pairs or families of terms and their differences.
  • Translate a wide range of texts using a wide range of strategies
  • Translate the same text for two different audiences
  • Do a summary translation
  • Learn to use caps and italics in food texts
  • Learn what they are and how to use legal denominations of origin
  • Copywriting


What you will gain

  • A better idea of the huge variety of food texts and possible work
  • An understanding of the demands of each text type
  • A varied portfolio of translations to show to potential clients, and the specialist knowledge that comes with them
  • A wealth of examples to prove to your customers that food translation is a specialist field
  • Feedback from a specialist who interprets in cookery courses and has translated cookbooks
  • Great resources to return to in future


What Trágora could add

Trágora could consider arrangements with food businesses to provide a paid translation and reference to each student, or at least to the best students.


Further reading

La gestión de encargos intensivos de interpretación.  https://www.tragoraformacion.com/gestion-encargos-intensivos-interpretacion/

La traducción de menús: ¿cómo se come eso?  https://www.tragoraformacion.com/traduccion-menus/


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