Specialist translation: Wine and other drinks

September 26, 2016 by Alison Tunley

Get a Free Quote

Our Accreditations

  • ATA Logo
  • ATC Logo
  • BSI 9001 Logo
  • BSI 9001 Logo
  • DIN EN 15038 Logo

Recent Updates

Dog-tired and other doggie expressions

Having recently got sucked in to the joy of cycling, I have found myself adding long weekend bike rides to my existing schedule of regular runs and swims. That’s how I ended up cranking out a 60 mile… Read More

Specialist translation: Wine and other drinks



Oenology: the study of wines. And no, that doesn’t mean just looking at a glass of wine somewhat intently then glugging away. The study of wines and other alcohols is a huge field of study, and a complex one at that. A very good friend of mine, Georgie, has a ‘nose’ for wine and is studying for a diploma with the Wines and Spirits Education Trust. Far from being a jolly afternoon every Saturday sampling lots of tasty drinks, this is serious stuff and involves much theoretical, scientific and practical study.

So, if the study of wines is a complex affair, so too is the translation of such a field. As discussed in a previous article, the translation of menus and culinary texts is difficult enough, particularly from French where the flowery artistic, sensual descriptions simply don’t translate into English. How then are descriptions of, articles about, and labels attached to wine tackled? Georgie, who is also a trained translator, translates specialist texts from French into English: specifically in the field of wine and alcohol. So, I spoke to her to find out more…

Georgie, how have you found being an expert in your field (i.e. wine and spirits) has helped your translations?

Absolutely! A lot of the texts I translate are quite technical, so you need to have knowledge of the field and the types of texts involved. There is also a specific type of language used in things such as tasting notes, which can feel contrived and unnatural at first, so it helps to be exposed to these as much as possible. Once you become familiar with the style of writing it’s easier to translate with more fluidity, at the same time you don’t want to ‘overdo’ the language either. As you become comfortable with the type of descriptors used this helps you to develop your own style. Working in the field with other experts also means there are people (Masters of Wine for example) on hand to help you with terms you’re not sure of!

Are there any specific difficulties related to translating texts about wine, or other alcohols? How do you tackle these?

There are quite a few words, for example the technical terms surrounding the wine making process or words such as ‘terroir’, that have been borrowed from French, so its a matter of being aware of these and not over translating. You also need to be aware that some terms might be better known to the average French person (who has grown up in a winemaking culture) than they are to your average English speaker, so some terms or references to regions might need to be explained slightly.

What do you enjoy about translating these types of texts?

You learn about different producers and keep up to date with the industry at the same time.

Do you have any tips for other translators interested in this field?

I would say it is important to have a basic knowledge of the subject, and qualifications such as WSET are really valuable (level 2 minimum and level 3 if you’re interested in pursuing it further). Even if you don’t pursue a career in the wine and spirits industry the knowledge is never lost, as you get to use it in your everyday life too.

Thanks Georgie for sharing her insights into the wonderful world of wine and translation. So, next time you’re happily supping a beautiful Bordeaux, spare a thought for the person who has worked on creating the language for the label’s tasting notes!



Interview with Georgina Haacke.


For further information about qualifications check out: https://www.wsetglobal.com

Share This Post


Add Comment

Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

More Testimonials

Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

More Testimonials

Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

More Testimonials

Get a Free Quote

© 2024 All Rights Reserved
Rosetta Translation, 133 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QA · 0207 248 2905