Mistranslation - Pastry Horns

These are Chimney Pies, not Pastry Horns

Each country has its own food, and regional cuisine. In Hungary, they have chimney cakes, which are famous in Transylvania. Food names should not be translated to any other language. It loses the sense of identity when that happens. For instance, the above mentioned chimney cakes get mistranslated to “pastry horns.” What makes this sign worse is that it committed two mistakes. It also mistranslated “freshly baked” from Hungarian, to “baked in place” in English.

Food names have a cultural significance. With wine, for instance, French Champagne can only be called such if it was from the Champagne region in France. The Italians call their sparkling wine “spumante,” and the Spanish call theirs “frixante.” In the same token, the United States should have their own wines like the zinfandel, which was developed in California.

In terms of food, this practice puts pride of place and artisanship front and center. The rum cake may have had its beginnings in the West Indies, however, it was the British who made it a Christmas tradition. The analogous fruit cake, contains almost the same ingredients and is prepared in the same manner as the rum cake, but different in the presentation.

The chimney cake is a pastry, which looks like a chimney. It is hollow, and is presented standing up. It should be called a chimney cake even without any translation. A case in point is the baklava or balaclava. It is a sweet pastry popular in Greece and Turkey. When you are in these countries, there is no need to translate the name to another language. In the same manner, “sushi” was never translated to “vinegar rice.”

Translating everything to another language is something that only those who do not appreciate their own language would do. Those who have taken the time to study a second language or a third, would know that there are some words that do not need to be translated. These include food names because they should be considered as proper names.

Image credit – via Pinterest

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