Why the Travel and Tourism Industry Needs Translation

With summer currently in full swing here in London (although yes, it doesn’t always feel that way, given Britain’s famously unpredictable weather…), and with many people enjoying holidays at this time of year, our thoughts have turned to the travel and tourism industry as inspiration for our post this week.

Read on to find out the key role translation plays in the growth of businesses within this rapidly-changing industry.


How and why the tourism and translation industry met each other

The impact the invention of the internet has had on many aspects of our lives is undeniable, and this proves to be especially true when we look at how the tourism industry has changed over the past decade.

“Traditional” travel agents that we have been used to, such as those with a bricks and mortar presence on our high streets, are now becoming a thing of the past, while customers themselves now play an active role in planning their perfect holiday through the use of travel websites (TripAdvisor being an obvious example).

As a consequence, businesses that are looking to expand in this industry – and indeed, survive! – are now understanding the importance of being able to reach out to more and more customers by providing them with as much information as possible. And the only way for businesses to reach an international customer base is through translation.


Why should you translate tourism material?

Travel-related content takes a range of formats, from catalogues, brochures and websites, to menus, leaflets and signs.

Print materials are widely used for information and advertising purposes, but the internet is now the top resource for people who are planning to travel.

And despite English being a global language, it has been proven that at the initial planning stage, travellers feel more at ease when they are able to research and collect information on their destination and plan their holidays in their own language.

Studies show that not only do customers mainly browse webpages with content in their native language, but also that about half of them would pay more if provided with information in their mother tongue.

Growing more and more demanding by the minute, travellers nowadays refrain from relying solely on travel agencies, and instead turn to the “powerful” web to do their research. How else to find that great last-minute bargain for a weekend in Spain?

It seems clear that using translation in the tourism industry has become an undeniable need. However, big businesses are increasingly tempted to resort to automated translation to solve this need. But is this strategy really worth it?


Translation blunders within the tourism industry, and their consequences

The problem with automated translation is that it just can’t be relied upon to be accurate. So there are big risks involved in using it.

Professional translation, on the other hand, involves human translation, and more than one person working on the content. It’s the safe choice! And like most industries, it is essential in the tourism sector.

This aspect cannot be ignored, especially since travellers might not speak the local language and hence will most probably need to rely solely on their mother tongue during their stay in another country.

Take signs, for example. As straightforward as they may seem, they often prove challenging to localise, thereby causing problems which can only be avoided through the use of professional translation.

Finding yourself in front of this sign might leave you amused, but also definitely confused:

Translation Blunder - Travel and Tourism Industry

The tourism industry is full of such translation blunders, which most of the time can prove detrimental rather than comical. Professional tourism translators, who are experts when it comes to specific terminology and jargon, would have never let this happen!


Why you need professional translation to make your travel website stand out

Automated translation can definitely appear cheaper when compared with professional translation, however in the long run this approach causes more damage than ever, and businesses may well end up paying a lot more than they would have done if they had chosen professional translation from the beginning. This applies to content created to pass on information – such as signage, as explained above – but also to travel websites and brochures. It is only through professional translation that the tailored content you have carefully crafted for your website will sound as appealing and as accurate in the target language.

The purpose of travel-related content is, after all, to sell a product, hence as an example of marketing text it doesn’t just have to convey information – it also needs to be enticing. Try to imagine the following piece – taken from National Geographic Traveller’s website – literally, (or worse Google-) translated in another language:

“Famed for its decadence and beauty since the 1960s, Italy’s ultimate hideaway is no longer so hidden. But with its wild cliffs and spectacular villas it’s easy to forgive Capri for being so popular”

The result would definitely be appalling and most probably extremely misleading.

By relying on the help of a professional translation agency, on the other hand, you can rest assured that your content will attract more and more potential travellers.

Another key point is the ability to create good quality translation that is also SEO-optimised. Localising travel websites in this way can boost online visibility, and successfully increase sales.

There is no point in having your content translated into another language if Google penalises your website and makes it less visible than others, right? Only through the help of professional translators, who will perform keyword research while making use of their linguistic skills, can travel information become enticing for a new audience while staying among the top search results in Google.


Benefits of professional translation in the travel industry

The tourism industry is doing well in our increasingly globalised society, however its global success can only be achieved if businesses manage to reach all customers, regardless of their native language. Hence translation plays a key role in ensuring the growth of this major sector in many countries’ economy.

Investing in professional translation means being able to meet the customer’s needs. This reaffirms the credibility of your business, helps to establish your brand in different markets, and provides a smooth path to a successful expansion.

If you are thinking of reaching out to a wider audience and you need an established professional translation agency to guide you through the process, give us a call today on +44 (0)207294 7710 or email us at info@creativetranslation.com and we’ll be happy to help.


Photo Credit: Rawpixel Ltd via iStock