About those grilled fevers…

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From Steve Kass:

My brother is traveling in Portugal and posted this on Instagram. That’s all I know.

I bet our readers can figure out what Portuguese words were naively mistranslated to create this list — and perhaps even finger the dictionary or translation app responsible.

For example, I suspect that "Interspersed" might be a mistranslation of (the Portuguese word for) mixed in "mixed grill", which I guess would be "misturado". But Google Translate — often the villain in cases like this — shows no interest in rendering misturado as "interspersed".


  1. Lachlan Mackenzie said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 4:39 am

    This is pretty hilarious. They all refer to cuts of meat.
    Abanico is used in Portugal, but is a loanword from Spanish (where it means a handheld fan for cooling yourself on a hot day and has been left untranslated.
    Fevers must be febras, another cut, but fever in Portuguese is febre, plural febres.
    Lagarto is another cut and also means lizard.
    Boobs is perhaps a translation of peito (= chest or bosom).
    Secretos is another cut and has been left untranslated.
    Entremeada is pork belly, and is also the feminine form of a word meaning interspersed (from entremear, to intersperse).
    And Sircoin must be a faulty copying of sirloin.

  2. PedroS said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 7:53 am

    "Boobs" refers to "maminha" , which is English is the "tail of round" meat cut.
    "interspersed" is "entremeada", which is English is streaky bacon, side pork or side bacon.
    "Lizard" is a"lagarto", the name given in Brazil to the "silverside" portion of the hindleg flesh .
    "Secretos" is the Portuguese/Spanish word for the flesh of the pig's "armpit".
    "Abanicos" is the flesh on the outside of the pig's ribcage.
    "fevers" is a false friend of the Portuguese "febras/fêveras", slices of (usually) leg muscle.

  3. Pflaumbaum said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 8:00 am

    Well that was pretty quick and comprehensive.

    I still don't understand what 'abanicos' is doing in there though. I'm trying to imagine a cut of meat that in any way resembles a handheld fan.Lamb chops is the closest I get, but then I'm a vegetarian…

  4. Keith said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 9:23 am

    A quick google search for "carne abanico" will find plenty of hits.
    Here are a couple to get you started.

    You find that a word meaning "fan" is a bit odd for a cut of meat… I remember buying a cut of pork called "cushion meat" from a hispanic butcher in Hackensack, NJ.

  5. Robert Coren said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 9:50 am

    I continue to be dispirited — although I can longer bring myself to be surprised — by the laziness of people who rely entirely on machine translations, and can't be bothered to have someone who actually knows some bits of the target language look at the menu (it's nearly always a menu) before publishing it.

  6. Francois Lang said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 9:59 am

    There's not only "fan" cuts in Spanish pork; they also have "feather", which I first encountered at my favorite Paris restaurant.


    It's the third item from the bottom in the middle column. Also, "pluma iberica" gets quite a few Google hits, including


    Now…on to an early lunch!

  7. PedroS said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 10:16 am

    Pflumbaum said:
    "I still don't understand what 'abanicos' is doing in there though." Apparently the Spaniards think that those pieces of flesh may look like foldable fans.


    To Robert Coren:
    "I continue to be dispirited — although I can longer bring myself to be surprised — by the laziness of people who rely entirely on machine translations, and can't be bothered to have someone who actually knows some bits of the target language look at the menu (it's nearly always a menu) before publishing it."

    Indeed. In a Portuguese restaurante, I once found a hillarious entry on the "Fruits/Desserts" section. It was labeled as "Sleeve". Guess what that is :-)
    Another classic in Portugal is the famous "understands" as in "We sell understands" or "We have seafood: mussels, shrimps, understands". Of course this is not limited to Portugal, as shown repeatedly by VHM in Chinese menus or the the classic French "Lawyer salad" (salade de avocat)

    Solutions to these small enigmas after a few blank lines:

    "Sleeve" in Portuguese is "manga", which is homonymous to the Portuguese word for "mango"
    "Understands" stands for the plural of the mythical "understand", which in portuguese ("percebe" is homographous to the portuguese word for "goose barnacle")

  8. Patrick Gribben said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 11:27 am

    I once saw "Prick of veal" in the Algarve. I suspect that they looked at espetar in a dictionary and Rejected Spit

  9. DMT said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 11:52 am

    There is a cut of pork sold in Hong Kong supermarkets as "fan bone."

  10. Gregory Kusnick said,

    May 24, 2016 @ 6:56 pm

    Robert Coren: One could perhaps make a case that hilariously mistranslated menus enjoy a Darwinian advantage in meme space by virtue of viral word-of-mouth. Having someone proofread your translation may actually result in less business, since correctly translated menus are less likely to get posted to Instagram.

  11. Graeme said,

    May 25, 2016 @ 6:13 am

    Would one veer away from a restaurant with a risibly translated menu – or think it more authentic than one that paid to ingratiate monolingual tourists?

  12. Robert Coren said,

    May 25, 2016 @ 9:45 am

    @Graeme: Well, I have menu-reading knowledge in some non-English languages, but by no means all, and I like to be able to tell from the menu what's actually available.

  13. Graeme said,

    May 26, 2016 @ 5:29 am

    @Robert. Isn't that what phrase books n wi-fi whilst travelling is for?
    What I meant is a restaurant's authenticity might be inversely proportionate to its English as Uber Language sensitivity or capacity.

  14. Andy said,

    May 27, 2016 @ 12:39 am

    I'm on my first trip to China now, in Wuxi. I know no Mandarin really at all, other than simple things like ni hao and shi shi. English menu translations are terrible, and I'm being a bit adventurous and going to restaurants where the staff does not speak English. I've learned that intestinal is generally sausage, although we accidentally ordered tripe once (not as bad as expected.) Google translate is marginally useful but usually hilarious.

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