Chipotle Mexican Grill: English to French translation of HR and training documents

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From day one, Chipotle wanted to be different. It wanted to be ‘fast’ food but not at the expense of some key components of the Chipotle’s vision of Food With Integrity. That’s why all of the ingredients in all of Chipotle’s food is produced in partnership with suppliers whose own emphasis is on responsible production methods, regarding animal treatment, vegetable growth and not using synthetic additives.

This simple philosophy has been the foundation for Chipotle’s phenomenal growth and continues to guide every decision they make. Which is why it was imperative that this message was delivered throughout the whole company, seamlessly and consistently, wherever that may be in the world.

Now, with over 2,100 restaurants in the US, Canada and Europe, internationalisation is one of Chipotle’s top priorities, and it was their expansion into France that brought them to us.

We were asked to translate Chipotle’s internal staff training manuals from US English to French, in a way that accurately communicated operations and technical procedures, but also reflected the Chipotle style, tone-of-voice and their distinct ‘team’ culture.

It was important that new employees felt immediately part of a team and quickly developed a sense of ownership and pride and so it was critical that our translations were professional and precise whilst being friendly and empowering.

We also spent a lot of time researching industry specific terms for equipment, tools and processes, which would, after all, need to be understood, but would also become part of the team members’ everyday vocabulary.

We took special care when translating internal terminology, as direct translations didn’t always exist, so we had great fun formulating and discussing suitable options.

80,000 words and 7 training manuals later, we had completed our task. The 6 months it had taken, from test translation through to delivery, seemed to fly by. Throughout the process we’ve got to know the Chipotle training team and their ethos extremely well and now look forward to working with them again in the future.

To find out more about Chipotle Mexican Grill visit

“From my first conversations with Anja, I knew that her company would be a great fit for what we were trying to do. Capturing our culture in foreign languages was our largest hurdle, and we tried multiple vendors and contractors before finding Anja. I am happy to say that our local teams had little to no feedback because the translations her team provided were accurate and captured our culture from the start. They took the time to get to know our company and our way of thinking, and adjusted their translations accordingly. They understand that localisation is not just translating words from one language to another. It is a detailed, nuanced practice that takes time, effort and a great partnership to get right and AJT has done just that. I couldn’t be happier with the company and the people that work there.”

Sam Worobec
Director of Training, Chipotle

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