FDA figures out Americans speak many languages

The. U.S. Food and Drug Administration now offers publications in five foreign languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

The Packer reports the agency’s Office of International Programs began offering the foreign language versions in early April. The intent is to enable the FDA’s foreign counterparts and industry to better understand the agency’s laws and practices.

Among the translated publications is the FDA’s produce guidance document, “Guide to minimize microbial food safety hazards for fresh fruits and vegetables.” It and other documents are available in the foreign language versions on a special page on the agency’s website:www.FDA.gov/translations.

As a language professor I hang out with might say, translation often fails to capture cultural nuances and meaning. I say, if the message isn’t clear, don’t expect a translated version to be clear or clearest.