Translation cards are essential to your gluten-free travel. These are cards in many languages and they will alert your server about your dietary restrictions. I have used these cards in Italy, the Czech Republic, and even in restaurants in New York City. They are an easy way to bridge the communication gap and speak openly about your gluten-free diet. I suggest using more than one to get your point across when traveling. In my experience, most restaurant staff are happy to comply.
Free Translation Cards
CeliacTravel.com Translation Cards
The gluten free restaurant cards from CeliacTravel.com are free but donations are suggested. As of May 2011, these cards are available in 51 languages.
CeliacTravel.com Translation Card iPhone App
Same as above, but for your iPhone.
Special Gourmets Chef Cards
A list of chef cards prepared for each of the main sources of food allergy or for those who cannot eat gluten. The cards were made the size of a credit card to make it easier to carry them in a wallet. You can personalize your cards online (or after printing them if you prefer) by writing in the back of the card (column on the right) the list of ingredients/hidden sources which may contain the food you are sensitive to.
Free in English, Spanish, and Portuguese
Brokerfish Food Allergy Cards
International Health Insurance company Brokerfish has created eight different food allergy cards in six different languages. You can download a PDF or PNG (image) file of each card and use these on your travels. The current cards include dairy, nuts, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, and gluten in French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanes, and Thai. There is even an EMERGENCY cards that helps you communicate that you need immediate medical attention.
Free in 6 languages
Hindi Gluten-Free Restaurant Card
Created by the Celiac Society Rajasthan, these gluten-free restaurant cards are translated into Hindi. They “provide you their Gluten Free Restaurant Card to speak to service staff and they will really pleased to get the ‘card’ to avoid the pressure of understand your actual request. Subsequently, conveying the same not verbally to their chef.”
Free in 1 language
Paid Translation Cards
DELICARDO Food Cards
The DELICARDO foodcard is made for food allergy and intolerance sufferers, or people on restrictive diets, who want to take the frustration out of eating out. Avoid elaborate explanations and requests while dining by handing a DELICARDO foodcard containing all of your dietary do’s and don’ts over to the service personnel. With the precise and discrete card, the chef will be informed of what you can’t eat, what foods may contain allergens and what foods you can eat without risk of an allergic reaction. DELICARDO offers both standard and personalized Foodcards.
SelectWisely provides health and travel translation cards and services to people with food allergies and other medical conditions. The cards improve communication when traveling in countries where foreign languages are spoken. Cards also used in local restaurants and are available in English as well. Gluten-Free, Gluten-Free Asia & Europe cards, and Gluten-Free & Milk Allergy card available.
Triumph Dining Cards
Order gluten-free and safely in ten languages: English, Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish (Mexican), Thai, and Vietnamese. Tailored to each cuisine. (Japanese card prohibits imitation crab, soy sauce, and tempura; Mexican card prohibits flour tortillas, etc.)
$18.95 for ten cards in ten languages
A UK-based company. For diners coping with coeliac/celiac disease or another medical condition necessitating a strict gluten-free diet, DietaryCard offer a discounted Classic Coeliac Card or the very similar Custom Card 1 (Coeliac version) dependent on your choice of language.
Price varies; 18 languages available.
Allergic Traveler International Dietary Alert Cards
Food allergies? Dine anywhere with less worry. Whether you’re dining in Chinatown or Hong Kong, Little Italy or Rome, or your own hometown, now you can communicate your dietary allergies to waiters and chefs in virtually any language.
They are available in wallet size or luggage format. They are durable, customized and discreet. Available in more than 17 languages. Wallet size is popular with teenagers and adults. Luggage size is popular with young kids for their back packs while at sleep overs or on school trips.
$12.95 + $5.95 S&H (2 identical wallet size, laminated cards); $13.95 + $5.95 S&H (2 identical luggage tag size, laminated cards)
iPhone app with 45 of the most common food allergies in 33 languages.
Gluten-Free Passport Dining Cards
In order to navigate your way in foreign countries, it is important to effectively communicate your needs in the native language. Gluten-Free Passport has compiled various gluten-free dining cards, phrases and a multi-lingual phrase guide to help you during your journeys.
$2.99 each in 12 languages