#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Fifteen: Steak Tartare

This week, despite the inclement weather, thanks to Storm Ciara, I decided to try something simple, refreshing and tasty.

I decided to go for steak tartare as a throwback to my honeymoon, where my husband had steak tartare one night and I had salmon tartare. Given how cool and dreek it’s been in the last few days, I wanted something that reminded me of the lovely sunny and hot South of France.

Generally, the translation of this recipe was very straightforward. Surprisingly, unlike some other French recipes I have translated, the amounts of ingredients were very detailed (e.g. one tablespoon of ketchup, one teaspoon of parsley, etc.)

Latin vs Germanic
Something did come up in the translation, however, that reminded me of a discussion we had during my masters in Applied Translation.
The word ‘réfrigérer’ seems like it would be fairly straightforward to translate – I mean, it’s clearly a cognate for ‘to refrigerate’ right? However, I would argue that that translation is a little formal for a recipe on a community website, so I opted for ‘put in the fridge’. This reminded me of an article I read during my MA, which unfortunately I couldn’t find to include a link to in this article, which discussed the benefits of translating French words using a Latinate verb vs a Germanic verb. French words tend to be Latin in origin and while English does often have similar cognates, often it makes more sense to use a Germanic or phrasal verb. This is because, words with Latin origin tend to be of a higher register in English and those that are Germanic in origin or phrasal tend to be for a lower register. So obviously it depends on the circumstances, but with this particular text, I decided that a phrasal verb was the best option. If anyone knows which article I am referring to, please let me know, because I can’t remember! You can, nonetheless, read a discussion about this topic on this forum.


This recipe, due to its lack of actual cooking, was very easy. The only slight complication was where to buy fresh and lean enough meat, especially given it is served rare, in England to make a steak tartare. I discussed this with my husband who suggested I try our local butchers. I can confirm the meat was perfect.

The end result was absolutely delicious! I decided to make twice the amount recommended in the recipe (my husband and I have big appetites) and serve it with a side salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomato with a lemon and oil dressing. I would definitely make this again and I’m glad I did, because it showed me how good value our butchers is – family-owned and fresh produce!

Next week…I haven’t decided yet, maybe something comforting for this last cold snap!

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a UK-based Arabic and French > English translator, Copy-writer, Copy-editor, Transcriber, Role-player & Tutor.

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