But what does umami taste like?
How do you quickly note down food ingredients and condiments? Whether you use English abbreviations, Chinese characters, or even simple sketches – that’s great! If you can’t recall every ingredient in the exact sequence, don’t sweat it! It’s interpreting. The list does not have to be as exhaustive as your abuela’s recipe. Save your brain power for what’s more important: the gist.
The speech is artfully crafted with personal stories, anecdotes, and the science that backs them up. Before you begin interpreting, pause and consider your audience. Who are they, and in what context might this speech be delivered? Perhaps it’s at a culinary book launch, a cultural event, a cooking contest, or maybe it’s for locals curious about international cuisine, or adventurous foodies eager to learn. Tailor your tone and word choice to fit the occasion and audience. Remember, it’s about striking the right balance, not overdoing it.
Would you consider going the extra mile to help your audience get the foreign condiments? Umami means Xian(鲜). That’s a given. How about “monosodium glutamate”, or its more technical label, MSG? When Gu An Suan Na (谷氨酸钠) doesn’t strike home, why not opt for a more household name like Wei Jing (味精), literally “flavor essence”?
Consider Worcestershire sauce. Is a footnote required? Picture it as a dark, spicy soy sauce, akin to Gip Zap (唧汁) or La Jiang You (辣酱油), a dipping sauce for dim sum or fried ribs.
Ultimately, our goal is to add just the right amount of cultural seasoning, so our interpretation hits home. Listeners will appreciate these familiar touches that make foreign concepts more palatable.
Length and endurance
It is by no means a short speech. It would be an excellent drill to build up your stamina. Refrain from being carried away by the details. Stay on track and keep the bigger picture, the unique allure of umami in this case, in mind. Split the speech in two for pedagogical purposes if needed. In the real world, speeches tend to be shorter and off-the-cuff. Brace for unfinished sentences, meandering arguments, thinking aloud, incomplete thoughts and all the intricacies of spontaneous conversation.
Now over to you. Happy practicing!1