The guideline would be descriptive in nature and will include around 200 terms related to popular local dishes. It will include the English, Chinese and Japanese languages and will aim at helping foreign language speakers understand Korean dishes, their ingredients and their preparation before they order, as well as comprehending the way the Korean cuisine works in general.
The Romanisation of certain dishes from Korean cuisine has led to many restaurants simply including the Romanised name of a dish, such as “jjigae”, instead of explaining what the dish is. Menus can then only be decoded by frequent customers or Korean speakers, but become challenging to other costumers because they lack an explanation.
Other common difficulty involves the use of scholastic or scientific terms which differ from those normally used by costumers. This is generally the case in seafood restaurants, when translating certain fish or plants with terms the public does not generally hear. This problem is sometimes a consequence of not consulting native speakers when translating the menus, which leads to choosing a term which is correct, but inappropriate in the restaurant context.
There are further complications when translating food terms, states Joe McPherson, from the online Korean food journal ZenKimchi. McPherson stated that literal translations can make a dish sound like something different from what it really is, or even make it sound unappetising. For him, the key lies on knowing when to describe a dish in detail and when the Korean word is enough.