We are happy to announce the new price for our popular food allergy sticky notes is $5/pad. With 50 sheets per pad, this accounts to $0.10/sheet. It’s a bargain when you think of the number of people you can remind about severe food allergies with one simple sticky note. Whether you use it for teachers, caregivers, relatives, coaches or others, we hope that they will help you and your family stay safe.
After operating for years as “Allergy Translation”, it’s a real thrill to relaunch our company and products under the “Equal Eats” banner. It was definitely time for refresh and upgrade absolutely everything. I’m really excited to share more about our future vision of how we can help people with food allergy and dietary restrictions eat safely at home and away.
I am really proud of our new product offering, specifically:
- 36 pre-set cards
- 500 allergens available for customized cards
- 50 languages
As much as I am proud of these products, it’s the process that went into them that truly sets them above and beyond in terms of clarity, effectiveness and accuracy.
In total, we had around 1,700 words that needed to translated. Did we use Google Translate? Absolutely not. My food allergies are life-threatening and I take them incredibly seriously. I would never have full peace of mind by putting my life in the hands of an automated online translator. But before I hired a top-notch translation company, there were many other steps needed first:
Step 1 – Research
I surveyed my existing customers and learned so much valuable information on what they would like to see included on their dream allergy translation card.
Step 2 – Assemble the team
I started an “A-Team” consisting of customers, trusted advisors and others who wanted to provide higher level feedback as the project rolled on. These people are the true reason why the cards are what they are. We debated on big things, and the very smallest details. It helped me realize that there is no black and white “right way” to convey things that will satisfy everyone, but we can create something that is the most effective in all settings, for most people.
Step 3 – Prototyping & feedback
Many versions of the translation cards were created with the help of a professional product designer. Receiving feedback was enlightening as we found customers and foodservice industry workers met in the middle on a lot of things, but with a clear priority to focus on essential information.
Step 4 – Finalize in English
Once we had the overall design ready, we needed to finalize the message to a tee. We did another survey where we sought input from people with various dietary restrictions to help ensure we didn’t miss a thing. We learned so much at this stage about the concerns of people with specific allergies, and other diets. After countless revisions and approvals, we finally nailed down the overall language. This was then reviewed by a professional editor to smooth out any communication issues.
Step 5 – Professional Translations
Finally, right! That’s how we felt too after months and months of planning and prototyping. We used a professional translation agency and deliberately ordered their “premium” service to ensure top accuracy.
Step 6 – Professional Proofreading
As part of the premium service, a professional proofreader verified the accuracy of all translations for each of the 50 languages orderd.
CROSSROAD ALERT – at this point, many people would be satisfied with the accuracy of the cards. Given that these products are being used to convey life-threatening food allergies, I decided to add in a few more steps to be safe.
Step 7 – Review by native language speakers
I tapped into an incredible network within the food allergy community that volunteered to review the translations for their native language. I loved working with people from all over the world who truly “get” food allergies, and have a first-hand grip on the true everyday spoken language. They found that the translations were fantastic, but could be smoothed out even further to ensure that they are understood in more places. Some thought language needed to be simplified, or expanded upon. It was an incredible team of caring people who I am forever thankful to.
Step 8 – Professional proofreading (again)
This was a classic “Hey….it’s me again…” email where I’m certain they thought this project was over. As much as I trust my native speaking reviewers, I wanted to have a professional simply double check that these recommendations are in fact accurate. They happily obliged (amazing customer service!) and mostly agreed on everything. I was put in the middle of a couple proofreader vs. native speaker debates, and we managed to find optimal solutions.
Step 9 – Layout
Now that the translations were accurate and complete, it was time to start laying out the pre-set cards. I am simply not capable of laying out certain languages with unfamiliar characters and line breaks (picture a steady row of Asian characters, would you know where to press “enter” for a line break that also doesn’t alter the meaning? Me either!) So, I hired a team of native language speaking Photoshop experts to lay out the cards in their respective languages. This step ensured the overall readability and clarity of the cards.
Step 10 – Layout review
I also asked the native language speaking volunteers to review the layout of the cards to ensure the information was in fact entered correctly. This was a formality, but unsurfaced a few small corrections. At this point, we felt incredibly confident about the accuracy of the cards and that the process was well worth it.
Even though we went through this lengthy process and believe we’ve created a gold standard in dietary communication cards, we have an ongoing commitment to improving our cards. If you ever have ideas or suggestions to improve them, please reach out!
It feels good to know that we’ve gone through a process that truly brings both sides of the product into consideration – the user and the foodservice industry. Often these tools have been one-sided in the past. It’s important that you are speaking the foodservice language, and if abroad, in their language! We placed equal weight on both sides in terms of what people want to convey, and what the industry needs to hear.
We’re proud of our products.
We’re proud of our process.
We’re proud of the people that made it all happen.
If you’re not already a member of the Allergy Travels Facebook group, we highly recommend it! It is a-buzz of tips, recommendations and first hand experiences from people who have travelled all over the world with food allergies.
The format is simple. If you are browsing, just find a tag for a place you are planning to visit (e.g. Greece). Then simply read all of the posts and comments to get incredible insight on what it is like traveling there with a food allergy.
You can also ask for recommendations specific to your upcoming trip. You will receive helpful comments and advice from others who are simply willing to help.
It’s a vibrant and supportive community and we hope to see you there!
It’s official! Our Allergy Translation App is now available for both iOS and Android devices.
With the app, you can now either:
- Purchase your cards within the app
- Purchase your cards from our website, and view on the app
It’s a great way to avoid using paper and just using your smartphone to show your food allergies while travelling.
As always, don’t limit your adventure!
CEO and Co-Founder
We are very happy to announce the launch of our Allergy Translation Card App! It’s now available in iOS app store for iPhones, and will be available in the coming weeks for Android devices.
It allows you to access your previously ordered cards through your smartphone, or to purchase new ones before your next big trip.
It also features picture cards of common allergens that can be handy in addition to written translations.
We welcome your feedback on our new app! We hope it makes your travels easier when trying to have a safe and enjoyable trip!
The most common tips you will find within articles containing advice on travelling with food allergies are plan ahead and do your research. This usually includes planning where you will stay, what food you will bring and researching things such as emergency numbers, local cuisine and allergen labelling laws.
However, have you noticed how difficult it is to plan out safe meals at allergy aware restaurants? There are sites such as Trip Advisor that give hints to whether a restaurant may truly “get it” through general reviews. Ideally, wouldn’t it be nice to know of places where someone with the exact same allergies as you ate?
This is where YoDish comes in. It’s an app currently available on iPhones that allows you to browse allergy-safe dishes based on reviews of exact and partial matches (coming soon in an upcoming update) of your allergy profile. You can also be a trailblazer and share your own experiences on YoDish to open up a world of possibilities to other allergic travellers.
Could you imagine if everyone with allergies used this app? We would have so much information at our fingertips to find out safe dishes at restaurants across the globe.
Have a good experience eating an allergy-friendly dish either at home or abroad? Be a part of a bigger community and share!
You can download YoDish at www.yodish.com
Below are some more screen shots of this cool app.