Does “sade kahve” mean “black coffee“? Rarely! It’s common usage is for Turkish coffee and “sade” means “no sugar“. However, if a Starbucks barista asks “How do you like your coffee?” in Turkish and the answer is “sade“, then it means “black“.
I saw “plain coffee” and “just coffee” in some restaurant menus. “Sade” also means “plain” and “just” (only).
What to do – and this is primarily for my fellow copy-editors – I just want to remind you guys the importance of communicating with your reviewers and translators. Sometimes, even the simplest phrases can be mistranslated. Search in Nubuto concordance first. We have translated tens of thousands of menus and brochures for food & drinks industry. If concordance does not retrieve a reliable resource, do your advanced searching on internet. And if you are still not sure 100%, consult your reviewer. Our reviewers will read the Turkish text and clarify the issue.
How about “martini with olive“? Well, this one is hard to miss but it just does. Perhaps as the editor rushes to meet the deadline the eyes do not detect the immediate error. In Turkish we call this drink “zeytlinli martini” but in English, one would typically ask for a “dirty martini“.
I know these are very simple examples but please do not overlook them. Because my experience shows that translators are keen to research on technical specifications or legal / medical terminology and they are more likely to underestimate how tricky some simple phrases are.
And also, not everyone has a chance to spend a couple of years in the US or UK and get familiar with local language.
My besty advice is do more research and don’t be shy to collaborate with your peers.