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[update: all translations in the comments, thanks!!] I bought a vegan passport a few years ago and have used it traveling through various non-english speaking countries. Basically, it’s a paragraph about being vegan translated into a bajillion different languages – the idea being anywhere in the world you are you should be able to show it to someone at a restaurant and they should be able to bring you something vegan. This seems like a good idea, but I think the execution was a bit off.

The biggest problem is that the paragraph spends too much time talking about “ethics” and basically makes you sound like a pain in the ass, and that isn’t really very convincing. I’ve gotten mixed results using it and on more than one occasion gotten something of a “that’s dumb, no” reaction. I’ve had friends help edit some of the translations to get right to the point, but unfortunately I forgot it in Los Angeles and won’t be able to bring it on this trip. Because of that, I’m hoping some readers here can help me with something similar, but more effective. In efforts to avoid the ugly food poisoning like side effects of tainted food, I need the following text translated into French, German, and Dutch. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

“Hello. I have an allergy to animal products and can not eat any meat or dairy products. This includes items such as milk, butter, and eggs as well as any kind of chicken, beef, or fish stock in broth. Could you please suggest something from your menu which is free from these items.

I could become very sick if I eat the wrong thing, however I understand this might be an unusual request, and very much appreciate your help. Thank you.”

I know saying allergy instead of vegan might be cheating, but over the last 15 years I’ve found it to be much more effective for two main reasons. First of all, I’m not a flag waiver. I’m not trying to “spread the word” or change anyone’s mind, so what someone else calls it really makes no difference to me. I just want something to eat, and the less things standing in my way for that the better. Secondly, while 90% of the people I might ask this of are more than happy to comply, there’s also 10% which take offense to it for some reason. Those are the folks who think it’s funny to hide meat or cheese on a veggie sandwich (which is about as rude as spitting in someones food) with the added bonus of 24-48 hours of diarrhea and vomiting. Telling those kinds of people it’s an ethical choice gives them a reason to mess with you, telling them it’s medical and asking for their help generally brings positive results. Last year a restaurant in Berlin served me a veggie plate that I’m fairly certain they cooked in butter, and that evening and next day were extremely unfun.

So anyway, any help with those translations would be a life saver.

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