Translation for the tourism industry

16th July 2019

Emily Robertshaw

Great Wall of China

In the months leading up to the biggest event in the travel and tourism industry calendar, the World Travel Market, we’re sharing some useful information to help you increase the number of foreign visitors to your website or attraction using professional translation.

To bring visitors to your hotel, attraction or event you’ll no doubt have promotional literature in a variety of formats such as brochures, adverts, leaflets and of course, your website. So, to attract foreign visitors you will need some, if not all, of this promotional material translated into other languages.

To help you market your destination, hotel or event effectively, you need professional, native translators who are confident in the terminology used in the travel and tourism industry but who also have a good writing style. Here are some of the reasons why it’s crucial to use specialist tourism translators:

They have a thorough understanding of the target culture

It is really important to think about the differences between the original culture and the target culture. Are there cultural nuances that could be misinterpreted or not understood at all? Take the simple example of inviting visitors to enjoy a traditional cream tea. This should be explained as an English concept but so foreign visitors understand. Non-professional translators (and we know from unsuccessful test translations) assume it’s tea with cream.  A professional native translator will use their expertise to make these decisions on a case by case basis. A translation widget would not have the capability to translate these cultural terms in the same way.


They know how to translate advertising phrases and slogans effectively

It is vital that a catchy advert has the same impact on the target audience as it does on the original. A literal translation of a slogan can have disastrous results.

For example, a large pen company translated an advert for a campaign into Latin American Spanish to launch in Mexico. The slogan was “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. However, the company mistakenly used the word embarazar to mean embarrass but it actually means to impregnate. So, their advert in Mexico read as “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!”


They have the knowledge to translate your website copy in a marketing sense

A professionally translated website makes the best first impression on a potential client. Knowing exactly which keywords to use in another language can be tricky. For example, it’s important to translate phrases that people type into search engines such as “low cost flights”, “budget deals” and “luxury destinations” in the correct way, which is where the knowledge of a professional comes in. It’s also important to translate booking information clearly into the target language. Specialist translators understand how to translate the instructions precisely so that foreign visitors feel confident about purchasing from you.


They are aware of the constraints when translating for social media

Social media translation can also be tricky as there are restrictions to take into consideration. As translations tend to expand, it is a skill to convey your message as concisely as possible. On Twitter for example, if your tweet is at the 240-character limit, the translator must think of a way to reword the tweet within the character count.


They are able to translate blogs effectively

In the tourism industry, blogs help you to promote specific services, events or even special offers. 61% of people read blogs or reviews before visiting a restaurant or tourist attraction, which means you also need to have your blog posts translated to allow foreign visitors to access all of your key information.


They understand the best way to translate for video content

Over 87% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 89% of video marketers say video give them a good ROI. Therefore, you should make these videos accessible in your target languages too. Your video scripts can be translated and made into subtitles to help foreign viewers. There are a lot of factors to consider when translating subtitles such as time and spatial constraints. Specialists will ensure that they adhere to them by thinking of the most effective ways to convey your message. As an alternative to subtitles you could opt to dub your videos. That means that once you have a translated video script a specialist voice-over artiste will record his/her voice to be played over the video.

We hope that you’ve found this information useful. When you’re making new relationships at the World Travel Market and thinking up new marketing strategies make sure you consider specialist tourism translation. It will really help you to increase your activity in foreign markets.


If you would like to find out more about translation for the tourism industry call us on 08450 354677 or take a look at our tourism translation page to see our portfolio of work within the tourism industry.

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