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Lost in Translation (II): I Said Watch the Menu’s English “Like a Hawk,” Dummy!


Via the félrefordítások (“mistranslations”) blog we get this snapshot of a menu featuring a dish described in English as “Roasted seafish fillet with freid (sic) potatoes in hawk.” But what may seem like the mother of all menu translations is actually somewhat understandable. While héjában sült burgonya is how you say “potato roast in its skin,” héjában can mean both “in the skin of something” – héj plus the possessive á and then the prepositional suffix ban to indicate “inside” – as well as “in a héja,” héja being the Hungarian word for the Goshawk, a medium-large bird of prey in the same family as the eagle and buzzard. At least we’re pretty sure it was a mistake. If not, the restaurant will have a bigger problem than mildly confused or grossed-out foreign patrons, because they are only charging Ft 1,600 (€6.42) for the dish, while the héja is a protected species in Hungary and the fine for killing one is Ft 50,000, no matter what you cook it in.

  1. anon says:

    I never really could understand why restaurants spend millions on (so-called) decor, but can’t ever shell out 5000 forints for a simple translation proofreading.

  2. Andras says:

    Well, this is part of the fun:)

  3. eric says:

    My favorite “lost in translation” menu item in Budapest has been a “gay ice cream surprise for children”

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