Eat your words – LITERALLY!

Food is a language, therefore, it’s translatable!

Let your mouths eat, leave the talking to the eyes

Don’t we all feel a certain way when eating specific dishes?
For example, gratin is my awe dish, for it reminds me of the time I was punished for not eating it when young.

Kousa mahshi » is my happy dish, because it’s what my late grandmother always cooked for me.

Pomodoro pasta is my love dish for it is the dish that I always share with my loved one.

Each dish makes me feel something; therefore, eating it is a language. My favorite language, may I say!

Words in a pot, the translation broth

Tomayto, tomahto.

Translation, on the other hand, is what guarantees that any message in any language reaches all people around the globe.

And if cooking is a translation, then Lebanese are the biggest target-oriented translators, for they adapt and mold the foreign dish, until it suits their taste buds. 

However, this form of translation happens everywhere. For instance, « to please American audiences, cream and butter, two staples of traditional Indian cooking, have been cut from recipes to make food less heavy and more « light » and « low fat. ».

Confined, but always refined

Now that we’re all in confinement, and with most imported products going extinct in our supermarkets due to the economic crisis, I’m sure that all of you, little chefs-wanna-be, know what I’m talking about; unless you didn’t go the extra mile and stuck to baking cinnamon rolls.

From Turkish Shawarma with “extra toum (i.e. garlic)”, to Italian pasta “Kattir (i.e. lots of) shredded mozzarella”, and cookies with Tahini instead of softened butter; we’re doing it all wrong!

Can you guess what dish is the biggest victim of the Lebanese target-oriented translation and also the topic of my next article?

Hint: It is round, triangular, and square-shaped, all at the same time!

Translation: It’s Everywhere!

“What is he trying to tell me?” “What is she talking about?” We all face situations where something that might seem perfectly intelligible to someone is over our head and plainly incomprehensible. It even seems like we sometimes need the help of a phenomenal glossary to translate everyday conversations.

You are unique. Every person is; and that is simply fascinating. But with this reality comes a not so fascinating intricacy: every person has a distinctive manner of expressing themselves. We each speak our own “language”. As a result, communication can be characterized as a cross-cultural interaction.

To some “I’m just going to read a few pages of my book” implies “I’m going to read as many pages as I can”. To others, it stands for “I am not going to read a single page”. Others yet might understand it as, “I just feel like being left alone” or “I have so much free time and nothing specific to do”. The list goes on. In all cases, one thing is certain: a simple sentence can transmit umpteen different messages.

This certainly is a humoristic scene, but it's not so unfamiliar! There are endless ways to express one idea. Crédit image :

This certainly is a humoristic scene, but it’s not so unfamiliar! There are endless ways to express one idea.


People express themselves differently.  Their feelings, emotions, beliefs, and characters clothe their words with distinct meanings. Not only that, but tone and non-verbal signals also play a role in transmitting messages. Hence, we do not all speak the same language. Each of us develops a language specific to them.

In the face of such a reality, every person takes on daily the task of translation. They try to decipher what others want to say and transmit it to their own language.

So, if you think you don’t need translation, think again! You face everyday situations where you not only need but also use translation, most of the time subconsciously. Whether to understand what your boss, friend, or parent is saying or to converse with your spouse or child, you resort to translating their language into yours.

Every woman has done that at least once! Credit :

Every woman has done that at least once!
Credit :

This diversity is a source of richness but also the mother of countless misunderstandings. Still, let’s dare to be different, learn to embrace and understand our divergent languages, and celebrate this diversity that gives each of us a taste of a translator’s intricate work.