The tourism industry is arguably one of the most important sectors when it comes to flawless translations, as well as being one of the more difficult areas in which to achieve accuracy, and still successfully appeal to the target audience. While texts in hundreds of languages are translated every day in this vast field, both from and into a wide variety of different language variants, the need for English tourism translations remains a priority for most tourism-related businesses worldwide.

What are Tourism Translations?

To reach out to the market, tourism businesses need to have a wide range of material translated into various languages; from brochures, tourism guidebooks, leaflets, menus, posters, websites, as well as signage and even client correspondence from invoices and documents to emails. The benefits of effective communication with a target audience can make the difference between success and failure in this highly competitive industry.

Relevance and Accessibility

Anyone booking a flight with a well-known airline, or browsing hotel or holiday comparison websites will have noticed that many of the big players in tourism have invested in multilingual web content, some going as far as to have dedicated URLs for each linguistic and cultural locale. Even Google has segmented their database by country, resulting in the search results for users searching through focusing on results that are more relevant to someone living in France. Thus, while having your business in the best position is vital for being seen by your intended target audience, good quality translation is the key to being heard.

Tone and Accuracy

Frequently, more professional businesses tend to use human translation over machine translation for their tourism-focused translations. This seems the correct approach as no-one wants to hamper their business success with blocky, literal translations that are off the mark in conveying important information. In practical terms, how likely is an English-speaking tourist to return to a website or hotel where the information presented in English is difficult to understand?

Unfortunately, many human translations can also run the risk of failing to reproduce the tone that a business’ original content had attempted to achieve. What might sound professional or even poetic in one language may not be usable in a similar tone in another. While meaning may be translated relatively intact, if the tone of the original is not fully conveyed, or is too strictly adhered to, this can result in unrelatable or unusual word choices. This is especially true in the case of English, which has a surprisingly wide variety of nuances affected by simple word choice.

Translation is essential for success in tourism and hospitality

Hotels, tour guide businesses, restaurants, and even travel agencies can sometimes take a ‘good enough’ approach to their translations. Any professional tourism company though should only settle for top quality work from skilled native speakers.

This is what determines how your prospective clients will relate to you. In order to avoid embarrassing mistakes or a miscommunicated brand message, your translation provider should be able to take what makes your business unique and then seamlessly translate and localise that to become an effective basis for marketing in each language market. English is quite possibly the most demanding language in this regard, given that it is the most universally recognisable language in both tourism and business. Native speakers are more likely to be monolingual (thus making English your only opportunity to connect with them), but they also demand only the highest standard of English in all marketing materials. While it may seem easy to translate into English yourself, the decision to use a professional translation service will ultimately have a major impact on how much your business can appeal to this lucrative demographic.