By Gunilla Huddleston
It could be argued that accurate and efficient translation is more important in tourism than in any other sector. The reasoning behind this argument is that tourism is, by its very nature, a distinctly global industry, where growth is driven by the experiences and choices of people speaking a vast array of languages from all over the world.
Any enterprise that wants to succeed in this sector must ensure it is hitting the highest standards as far as translation is concerned. Take one of the best-known and most trusted brands among worldwide travellers – TripAdvisor. It is the most popular travel website in the world, attracting some 280 million unique visitors every month, and this success is partly built on the fact that it is available in 41 languages, including Hebrew, Arabic and six versions of Spanish.
Brands and businesses that rely on global custom to grow cannot overlook the importance of good translation. Here are some specific reasons why it is so vital:
Brand loyalty is a hugely important concept in the tourism industry. Many businesses depend on the desire of customers to keep coming back, year after year. This is something that can be difficult to earn and even harder to maintain for the long term, particularly in the face of rising competition.
Language has a vital role to play in building a brand, just as much as visual elements such as a logo. Tourism businesses must be able to rely on accurate translation to ensure that their carefully chosen brand messages and wording are being properly conveyed in a multitude of languages.
Furthermore, inaccurate translation can lead to muddled or misleading language in vital brand resources such as websites, printed advertising and brochures. This can severely undermine the authenticity and appeal of a brand.
For some people, travelling to a foreign country can be a difficult experience, with potential anxieties around plane travel, culture clashes and getting your bearings in a new city. These worries can be heightened when language differences are thrown into the mix.
Businesses that are reliant on tourism – from hotels to resort operators to tour providers – can do a lot to help people feel comfortable in their holiday destination, and language has a vital role to play in this. Customers want to feel a sense of engagement and familiarity with their service providers when they are travelling, but it is difficult for businesses to achieve this without clear and natural language.
Good translation can help companies to infuse their communications with the cultural nuances, dialect and tone of voice required to put the customer at ease and make them feel comfortable in their new destination. Essentially, people want to feel that they are being looked after when they travel overseas, and using the right language is crucial to give that impression.
It goes without saying that having a strong, engaging online presence is pretty much essential for any business hoping to succeed in the tourism industry these days.
Your web content and communications must be tailored not only to convey a compelling brand message, but to ensure that technical elements such as your website meta descriptions and other search engine optimisation assets are properly presented. Doing this successfully in numerous languages is a big challenge, so a reliable translation partner is vital.
Ensuring that all of your valuable online content – from blogs and brochures to social media posts and marketing collateral – is properly translated can prove instrumental in expanding the reach and appeal of your brand across multiple borders.
Consumers spend a lot of money on their holidays, so they want to feel reassured that businesses are giving them a true representation of what sort of experience they can expect to receive. It’s extremely important that, when information about key services, products or attractions is translated into another language, the core meaning is not lost.
Consider, for example, the difference between a ‘scenic hike’ and a ‘sightseeing walk’. These words are closely related, but the actual experiences they describe could be very different. It’s important to feel confident that, when this sort of content is being translated into different languages, it’s done accurately to avoid sending inaccurate messages to customers.
Ultimately, language plays a hugely significant part in how brands are built and how businesses relate to their customers. In the tourism industry, with its inherently global nature and geographically diverse customer base, effective communication in various languages could be the key to long-term success.