In 2020, the world got a glimpse of life without travel. Most travel restrictions have eased in the three years since, and people have flocked to road trips, getaways, and vacations, revitalizing the tourism industry.
While many Americans dream of spending a few weeks abroad, many people in other countries dream of visiting the US and Canada. And to bring people to these countries, you need translated marketing in the tourism and hospitality industry.
The Importance of Translation in the Travel and Tourism Industry
While English is a common language spoken around the globe, it is a mistake to assume that everyone who wants to travel to North America speaks English. French, Spanish, German, and Chinese are commonly heard in some of the hottest tourist spots, highlighting the need to translate tourism marketing materials in the tourism industry for those languages.
Think of your last vacation abroad – how much information did you seek in that country’s native tongue? Likely none – most people seek out information in their primary language, the language they understand. And the same is true of people traveling to the US and Canada. Travelers in every country want information and instructions delivered in a format and language they’re comfortable with.
Thanks to the internet, the world is more connected than ever, making it easy for people in Turkey to discover a cool cave in Kentucky or enticing Panama residents to visit the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. But knowing a destination exists is only half the battle in the tourism sector. Once someone decides to visit a location, they want to know more: where they can stay, eat, see, and how they’ll get around. If that information isn’t available in their native language, they may travel elsewhere or have a less enjoyable visit.
Using Data to Drive Tourism Translation Services
How do you choose which languages to translate your tourism marketing into?
You need information and analyze data to decide your target audience.
If you know where most of your travelers are already coming from, focus on that (or those) languages. If you don’t know, focus on a shortlist of widely spoken languages to see the traffic and conversion that those might produce. Use your website’s analytics to see from what countries you receive visitors. If you’re a local tourism organization, check if your state tourism organization has any data on where international travelers are coming from.
One city that provides multilingual options on its website is New York City, https://www.nyc.gov/. As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, translation services in NYC make information available in various languages to welcome everyone. NYC Go, the official city guide, has four language options on its website. Another multilingual content example is The Go City website, which provides a pass for many top tourist sites and is available in eight languages.
Another example of a city with a multilingual website to serve its visitors and residents is Boston; its website https://www.boston.gov/ offers a translated version via Google Translate and includes a disclaimer about the quality of the translation provided. This is another indicator that translation services in Boston are important for the services and information provided by the city.
Translation services make your village, town, city, or state more accessible and appealing for visitors and city residents who speak other languages.
Localizing Your Travel Translations
Translating your tourism marketing is as important as deciding to do it. Clunky translations can result in materials that are inaccurate at best and laughable or offensive at worst. All you need to do is google “translation fails” to find an array of embarrassing mistakes – like KFC’s campaign in China that urged people to “eat their fingers” (a poor translation of “finger-licking” good.)
Substituting word for word from a source to a target language may get the job done, but it won’t resonate with your target audience. Localization is a key piece of travel and tourism translation. A localized translation considers the region’s grammatical structure, vocabulary, and cultural nuances and incorporates this into the translation. It also manages measurements, formats for time zones, and currency.
Localization is an important aspect of quality and appropriate translations, especially for pieces with many cultural references, as in the case of tourism content. These references and examples may not resonate with the target audience as they did with the original audience, and the professional translator should pay attention to that using a transcreation and adaptation of content. An experienced translator should translate your tourism marketing materials into a linguistic equivalent that retains your core message while presenting it in a way that relates to your audience.
The necessity of this in-depth cultural knowledge is where the expertise of a professional translation agency becomes important. Many people speak multiple languages, but few have in-depth cultural knowledge of multiple countries or regions. And that deep global understanding comes from a team managing content in multiple languages and countries daily.
Industries That Need Tourism Translation
What businesses fall within the tourism and hospitality industries? Companies that may need tourism translation services include:
- Hospitality (hotels, hostels, resorts, motels, bed and breakfasts)
- Food and Beverage (restaurants, bars, coffee shops, wineries, distilleries)
- Transportation (airlines, buses, cruises, ferries, trains)
- Services (guides, events, activities)
- Attractions (museums, monuments, theme parks, malls)
- Organizers (travel agencies, travel planners)
What types of tourism marketing materials can be translated?
- Tourism websites
- Travel guides, brochures, and magazines
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Paid ads
- Audio tours or guides
- Videos and audio files
- Press releases
Tourism translations also help businesses by creating a welcoming environment for companies worldwide to host meetings, retreats, and training. The tourism industries are vast and touch many sectors of business. Investing in translation services can pay dividends in the long run.
Translating your SEO strategy
Having the right keywords is important for optimizing your website and social media for search engines. Most companies focus on an English SEO strategy, but you must consider keywords in those new multiple languages when dealing with an international audience. Thinking about international SEO will help achieve the highest quality translations.
You can’t just substitute a word in English for its equivalent in Spanish until you do keyword research in both your source and target language. A keyword, or a keyword phrase, can be translated in different ways, and you need to use the appropriate one with the level of searches in the region of interest.
The time you spend on creating a translation SEO strategy will pay dividends down the road. This activity is also labor intensive and requires knowledge and language skills. In International SEO, working with a translation company becomes crucial so you don’t have to put more work on your team’s plate.
In today’s globalized world, creating content and marketing material in multiple languages is easier and more important than ever. If you’re ready to take the first step in translating your tourism marketing materials, you need the right translation services company. At JR Language Translation Services, we work with companies worldwide to go the extra mile to exceed your expectations at affordable prices. Contact us for translation or interpretation services for the travel industry today— we’d love to hear from you.