Catalan government creates digital database for restaurant managers

Site contains online dictionary with over 7,000 names of Catalan dishes in four languages

Mario Rubio

June 10, 2010 05:16 AM

Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan government has launched a new web site, ‘Dishes a la carte’, to provide resources for restaurant managers to “function normally in Catalan”, as the secretary of Linguistic Policy, Bernat Joan, explained this week in a press conference. The site contains an online dictionary with 7,462 names of Catalan dishes and drinks, and its corresponding equivalents in four languages. It also offers an application to create menus in Catalan based on the terms included in the dictionary and links to training resources and general linguistic advice.

Bernat Joan told journalists that 'Dishes a la carte' is a website which enables “anyone in the restaurant world to access all the tools he needs from a linguistic perspective in order to function normally in Catalan”. The web was created following the results of a study in 2009 carried out by the Secretariat of Linguistic Policy, together with the Centre for Terminology TERMCAT to evaluate the functioning of the application 'dishes a la carte', a tool that was put into operation four years ago and allows for the creation of menus in Catalan and five other languages: Spanish, English, French, Italian and German. Now, under the same name, the revised web includes access to new expressions which have been included over the last few years.

The new site provides access to an online dictionary with 7,462 names of Catalan dishes and drinks, with their equivalents in the other five languages mentioned. The web also includes information for the training of workers in the restaurant trade (PROFIT), which aims to promote Catalan as a language of “social rights and opportunities”. During the press conference, the general secretary of the Trade Federation of Catalonia, Miguel Àngel Fraile, defined the initiative as one that encourages “social integration, employment and the linguistic training of immigrants working in a strategic sector such as the restaurant and hotel trade”.
The new site also includes access to the Consortium for Linguistic Normalization, as well as to the Secretariat of Linguistic Policy, to and to TERMCAT’s online library.

'We don't dare offer our dishes in Catalan'
The President of the Restaurant Owners' Guild of Barcelona, Gaietà Farràs, said the new site was a necessary tool. “Often we don't offer our dishes in Catalan because we don't know if our clients will choose them". According to Farràs, the new tool will help to overcome these fears. He also added that the restaurants most reluctant to use these technological tools are the midday menu establishments, of which there are between 6,000 and 7,000 in Barcelona alone. “Many are managed by families who do not use computer technology and cannot translate their dishes into our language " he said.

The right to be treated in Catalan
During the press conference, the general secretary for Innovation, Universities and Business, Enric Aloy, stressed that the fact that restauranteurs can learn and work in Catalan can give them a hand to improve their status. He also reminded the press that Catalans “have the right to be attended in their language”.
An Australian commited to Catalan because he is facing public
Brenden is Australian and he is the owner of the restaurant Atril, located in the Santa Caterina neighbourhood of the Catalan capital. He arrived eleven years ago and decided to learn and support the Catalan language six years ago. He is an example of a foreign employer that offers his menu in Catalan. According to Brendan, he does it to feel more integrated and because he is working with the public. He explained to CNA that local customers really appreciate the fact that they are attended in their language.