Before winter holiday, we applied our English skills to help local chain restaurants to create an English menu. In this activity, each house team chose two chain restaurants to transform their Chinese-only menu into a bilingual version. Upon completion, each house team presented their work to the ‘chosen’ restaurants and received bonus points as rewards for their effort and dedication for the community.

Our Green team translated the menus for a hotpot restaurant that specialized in beef. During the translation process, teammates ran into various troubles, which included not being able to translate certain Chinese words into English without changing their original meaning and connotations. To increase the accuracy and authenticity of the translation, we needed to do some research to figure out the implied meaning of the Chinese name of the dish. For example, we named our second restaurant as ‘happy stilt beef’ because its Chinese name being “翘脚牛肉” implied that the customers would enjoy the food so much that they would sit with their legs crossed. Therefore, we translated the name into “happy stilt beef” to illustrate the behavior of the customers enjoying their meals. Besides providing a creative translation of the menu, other teams especially Grey all devoted their artistic and designing skills to make the menu look attractive and appealing to the customers.

Overall, this activity helps us earn many house team points. Besides developing interpreting skills and teamwork, we also develop a sense of responsibility to make our community more inclusive to foreigners by providing English menus of many restaurants.