Monday, 9 March 2015

Translating ‘Schmankerl’ into English

Of all the ‘culinary’ words I come across when translating hotel and restaurant websites, Schmankerl is definitely one of the most common. Though it is known to be Bavarian in origin, the exact derivation of the word is unclear. For more information word nerds may like to take a look at Schmankerl’s very own Wikipedia page:

Unlike its close friends Leckerbissen and Gaumenkitzel, Schmankerl is also used in non-food related contexts to mean ‘something special’, ‘a bonus’  or ‘freebie’, a ‘treat’, ‘the icing on the cake’. An example of this usage is this from Linguee: “als besonderes Schmankerl gibt es gratis dazu einen Gutschein”.

In texts about food (most commonly in Bavaria and Austria, but also spotted on the website of a Vietnamese restaurant!), Schmankerl can usually be translated with something like ‘tasty delicacies’, ‘culinary treats’ or (especially if preceded by heimisch or einheimisch) ’local specialities’. Weirdly, ‘titbits’ (or in American English, apparently, ‘tidbits’) always pops up as the first suggestion in online dictionaries – not sure where that would ever sound right!

It also appears as part of compound words such as Schmankerldorf, which came under discussion on ProZ a few years back. Suggested translations then included ‘refreshment area’ and (my preferred option) ‘food court’, a term now familiar to those of us who frequent the large out-of-town shopping centres that have sprung up everywhere in recent years. For the full discussion, go to:

And for fans of Bavarian food, what better than a convivial Schmankerltour around Munich? Check out the website: