This week the Foodie Translators Facebook Group is celebrating its first birthday! Incredible though it may seem, it’s just over a year since I first tentatively suggested that it might be a good idea to create a group where translators with a passion for all things food could gather and swap recipes, droolworthy photos, tips, advice, stories and queries. From the very first days, it certainly seemed we’d struck a chord: from an avalanche of join requests back on 23/24 January 2016, we’ve grown steadily to our current membership of 1875 impassioned foodies. And what a lovely community we’ve created between us!
We have some talented bakers and chefs in our midst, even some potential Bake Off champions with fabulous cakes like these:
Colleagues post pictures of their latest creations, but also ask for ideas about what to do with certain ingredients, for special occasions or for specific dietary requirements. Kitchen gadgets, kitchens and favourite foodie fiction/cookbooks have also featured. “Clean eating” has been discussed time and again, and there is a wealth of advice for people contemplating a whole raft of special diets, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, not forgetting the omnivores and carnivores amongst us, of course.
We positively encourage term queries from food-related translations and I for one have been able to find answers to tricky term dilemmas straight from the horse’s mouth from native speakers of my source languages. We’ve also had a number of job postings – where else to find an excellent translator for your prestigious food project than in a specialist group?! The beauty of a true “social” networking group such as this is not only can we talk ’til the cows some home about our favourite subject, but we also glean a very good idea of others’ writing style, knowledge and specialisms as we go. Very useful when it comes to placing a job.
Back in December, and even earlier this month, when many online translator groups seemed to have gone into meltdown, with angry comments ranging back and forth (mainly due to the shenanigans in one particular Facebook group, as I wrote at the time), the Foodie group came to feel like a true haven where we could hang out with colleagues without fear of being insulted, put down or shouted at. It is a genuinely friendly and supportive community, where you can chat to like-minded people about food and drink across the world and hopefully get a better understanding of what it is to cook and eat in other countries. One of our long-standing members lives in Syria and it is truly humbling to hear how she copes; it certainly puts mundane concerns about spiraliser-driven courgette shortages into perspective!
Then there’s our link with Translators without Borders, of course, thanks to Sue Fortescue, one of our admins. Many members contributed recipes to the TWB Cookbook last year to raise money for this venture to provide language support for some of the most needy people on the planet. See also my first post on this subject from February last year.
Most of all, it’s been an opportunity to connect with colleagues, not only by our shared profession and love of languages, but also via our enthusiasm for all things food-related. We’ve already had a few meet-ups, including one memorable trip to the oldest restaurant in San Francisco for an outstanding seafish stew (cioppino) at last year’s ATA conference. I look forward to hearing about more foodie translator gatherings in the coming months as the conference season gets underway again. Some of the longest threads have been triggered by requests for restaurant/foodie recommendations in specific locations – with a crowd of translators based all over the globe, that’s an awful lot of local knowledge!
If you’ve already joined us, thank you so much for all your contributions. And if you’re tempted, do come and see what you think! We merely ask that you are a language professional, love food (and drink), even if you’re not a cook as such, and are prepared to respect others’ views, even if you don’t agree with them yourself…. Oh, and if your Facebook profile doesn’t actually state that you’re a translator or interpreter, do drop one of the admins a note to back up your request, or ask a member to add you so we can see you’re bona fide.
I can’t promise you won’t find it terribly distracting (!), or even fattening (!!!), but it’s a lovely place to while away your coffee breaks….
* With thanks to Kathy Knaus, Andrea Alvisi, Rebekka Groß and Gill Shaw for their photos of their stunning creations.