Monday smile – How is cheese like comparative law?

cheddarEvery industry has its own specialized terms – and the world of cheese is no exception. A glossary is always helpful for ‘outsiders’ too.

A research project originating in Ireland even carried out a terminological study on one particular cheese – Cheddar.

But, I hear you cry, what on earth is the connection with comparative law? Well, dear readers, for the answer… read on!

Results of the project on cheese descriptors, carried out at University College Cork, were published in a paper entitled Selection of Standards to Reference Terms in a Cheddar-Type Cheese Flavour Language, in the Journal of Sensory Studies in 2000.

You can get a flavour of the project – sorry 😉 – from the partial abstract below.

“Descriptive languages used for sensory evaluation characterize products in terms of their attributes (qualitative component) and attribute intensities (quantitative component) and are generally developed by a panel of assessors in isolation. Although many of the terms selected by panels are similar, their meaning can be different, thus causing interpretation difficulties. Reference standards which clarify the interpretation of terms can overcome such barriers to communication. In order to better align assessors’ concepts of Cheddar cheese flavor it was decided to establish reference standards which represented flavor terms in a Cheddar cheese language.”

In 2005, one of the co-authors of the first study then participated in an expanded study: Comparison of differences between lexicons for descriptive analysis of Cheddar cheese flavour in Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States of America, published in the International Dairy Journal.

“The objective of this study was to compare differences and similarities in three independently developed sensory languages for Cheddar cheese flavour at three different locations (Ireland, New Zealand, United States of America) using an international selection of Cheddar cheeses.”

Can you see where I’m going with this now…?

I think the 2005 cheese term research group’s conclusions say it all…

“precise international communication on documenting differences” is possible, but… “pinpointing the exact nature of these differences poses a challenge”.


And that’s without even getting into translation and other languages


Credit: I happened upon this research topic through the UK newspaper The Guardian

One thought on “Monday smile – How is cheese like comparative law?

  1. Pingback: Monday smile – Cheese snatch | From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

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