This paper presents the preliminary conclusions of an ongoing research project on the subject of the translation of Greek restaurant menus. In the first part the rationale and the design of the study are described and a number of preliminary comments about the translation event are made. The second part deals with the linguistic and functional characteristics of restaurant menus and the final part focuses on the translation strategies used to deal with cultural diversity and on the relation which these strategies bear to the type and function of the text to be translated. It appears that in most cases the strategies used in translating menus do not lead either to a functionally equivalent or a professionally satisfactory target text. However, the deficiencies recorded are due to the inadequate abilities of those who provide the translations rather than to the fact that translation is practiced from the mother tongue into a foreign language. Translating is often viewed as a simple process of reproducing linguistic surface structures in another language. This attitude points, among others, to a lack of professionalism, the impact of which is considerable — customer dissatisfaction — and ultimately reduces to nil the mediating mission of translation.
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