Being an eager student of languages, I sought to dazzle recent visitors by personally translating an upscale Dutch menu before their very eyes.
Here is the restaurant’s menu:
And here is the menu as I described it to them after passing it through the coarse filter of my understanding:
Almost certainly a fish / cauliflower / something to do with pumpkin
Terrine of chicken liver / has to do with a farm / balsamic / pear
Cheese / this must be Italian for rice / beets / Kalamata olives
Something red / likely lentils / oysters / oh yes, that French sauce
Part of a cow / potato thing / red cabbage
Conceivably celeriac / toadstools / a funny sort of carrot
Fish / I haven’t a clue / veal sauce with something indecipherable
Beats me / something from veal / sprouts / carrots / red wine sauce
Yellow cabbage-y thing / I guess buckwheat / Is that a French word? / onion
Chocolate cake / some variety of berry / cream
Lemon or maybe lime / creamy rice / French cookie thing
5 cheeses / pear-apple syrup / fancy bread
My visitors were very gracious and would probably have attempted to order based on this spare and vastly imperfect translation.
Luckily, the restaurant’s key man took pity on them and beautifully described each menu item in detailed English.
Unluckily, I insisted on translating the extensive menu at a local pancake restaurant to them the next day: “pancake with cheese and some other stuff, pancake with salmon and a few other things, pancake with something green …” and so on through thirty or so menu items.