Menu Translations Gone Bad

I always appreciate it when restaurants in Mexico go through the trouble of translating their menus for anglophone guests. While this is pretty standard practice in Puerto Vallarta’s touristic areas, it is not all that common in other cities of Mexico, such as Guadalajara where I just spent a wonderful weekend with some friends enjoying two performances—opera and symphony. This particular translation at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Tonalá was simply too adorable to pass:

Now, vacío is a very popular beef cut in Argentina, where it is often grilled. It is also referred to as bavette in France, and as far as I know, it is known as vacío north of the border. The word itself has several derivative meanings: first and foremost, it means ‘empty.’ On the other hand, the phrase al vacío means ‘vacuum packaged.’ More often than not, when we (Spanish speaking folk) see the word ‘vacuum’ by itself, we associate it with a vacuum cleaner, not with packaging or the vast emptiness of space, for that matter.

As such, reading this well-intentioned translation out loud with my friends during our dinner made us chuckle at the possibility of ordering filete aspiradora or vacuum cleaner steak!

OK, it was funny at the time, plus we had already gone through a bottle of wine…

Have you come across interesting, odd or unusual English-Spanish translations here in Puerto Vallarta? If so, please share them in the comments, below.

(This one is for Sandi, Dee Dee, Larry and Paul, with whom I shared an amazing weekend full of laughter, great times and a healthy dose of wonderful music. It is also for my dear friends Erica Mercedes and Oscar Rito, who can definitely tell the difference between a good steak and a vacuum cleaner!)

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