by Maria Rotger

Travel and tourism translation services

Globalization has made travel and tourism more accessible, and travel and tourism translation more necessary than ever.

It’s never been easier to hop on a plane and be halfway around the world in a few hours.

A trip, by nature, involves the intermingling of cultures, and this industry reaches out to a wide variety of people who speak different languages,

⤷ which makes translation indispensable.

Some organizations and businesses impacted by travel and tourism translation are:

Here, we’ll discuss some of the cultural and linguistic challenges that are unique to travel and tourism translation,

⤷ and how to overcome these barriers through professional translation services.

Localization service for the travel and tourism industry

We always talk about how crucial localization is for any industry’s translation process,

⤷ but travel and tourism are perhaps one of the top enterprises in need of adequate localization.

This need is due primarily to the fact that tourism relies heavily on marketing to foreign cultures.

If a hotel, for example, wants to attract tourists from other countries, it will need to publish various types of ads:

to put itself on the map.

People need to know that this hotel exists before they can book a vacation there.

And, more importantly, the ad that informs them that this hotel needs to be appealing and informative.

This situation is where localization comes in:

  1. the text has to be tailored to a particular target population and communicated accurately,
  2. which requires thoroughly understanding the meaning of the source text,
  3. as well as being familiar with the terms that you can use to capture that same idea in the target language,
  4. considering regional linguistic characteristics.

For example, let’s say hotel markets itself as “family-owned.”

Still, the translator misinterprets or mistranslates this essential piece of information as “family-oriented”:

  1. either due to lack of knowledge regarding the regional vocabulary used in the target region to express this concept
  2. or not understanding the original term.

This translation can lead to miscommunication if the reader deduces that the hotel offers family-oriented services as:

Whereas the hotel meant to convey the coziness and small size of the hotel.

This mismatch between inaccurately created expectations and reality can diminish the hotel’s credibility and reputation,

which can reduce overall sales and hinder tourism.

Types of travel and tourism regarding translation

Any business associated with travel must also decide what kind of tourism they are targeting.

Because every type of tourism attracts a different demographic and requires an altered use of language.

For example, “bleisure” (business + pleasure) trips are now in style,

inviting those who set some time aside during business trips to see the sights.

Let’s say that you work at your city hall’s tourism office,

and your team wants to take advantage because a luxurious new hotel in town is attracting more and more professionals coming for:

Given that this demographic often has a limited amount of time due to work responsibilities, your team might decide that your city’s tour bus is an appealing option.

The activity gives a quick glimpse of the town, so you might choose to design a brochure for this particular group,

highlighting how much they can see in a short amount of time.

To effectively translate all the information in the booklet, you would then have to analyze your demographic:

A professional translation agency like SIGNEWORDS can then use this information to provide a translator who is deeply familiar with the language and culture of each of those groups.

This knowledge will allow the translator to choose the most effective translation for that particular target market.

Another type of tourism that has recently risen in popularity is ecological tourism or ecotourism:

  1. In which people travel to observe animals in their natural habitats.
  2. If you work at a wildlife reserve and want to increase travel to your area, you might use this form of tourism to your advantage.
  3. Perhaps creating a website ad targeting various animal protection organizations all over the world.
  4. A translator who is familiar with the characteristics of this particular demographic in a specific region would know how to translate the ad best using specific trending keywords that can increase website traffic.

Of course, sometimes, a particular business can take advantage of a blend of types of tourism.

A beach resort, for example, might target:

This hotel might decide to host water games for kids, as well as more relaxed excursions for adults who are there primarily for a business conference.

The ads that market each of these activities will differ in tone:

  1. The one for kids will be much more exciting, youthful, and dynamic.
  2. In contrast, the one for adults might have a more restrained, relaxing tone that will appeal to overworked professionals who need an hour of relaxation during their business trip.

That difference in mood will have to carry over into the translated text for the marketing tactic to be effective.

Subtle nuances in travel and tourism translation

You might argue that translation is objective, that the original language in the text dictates what the target text should say.

However, there are subtle choices in nuances like word connotation that the translator can make without necessarily distorting the meaning.

Knowledge of the culture of the target region or subpopulation can help the translator make word choices that best appeal to that specific demographic.

For example, English ads, especially in the tourism industry, sometimes tend to have an inspiring tone, but some more restrained cultures in other parts of the world might prefer more neutral toned-down language.

A translator would be aware of such differences and make word choices taking into consideration how people will perceive the text in a particular region.

Knowing your audience when translating:

Create some flyers for the most popular target languages and make yourself known.

In short, practical travel and tourism translation comes down to knowing your demographic and hiring a translator who can tailor the message to each target population.

There are many cultural and linguistic factors you might not be aware of when marketing to foreign cultures, so you must team up with a translation agency as SIGNEWORDS that can provide the expertise you need.

Did you enjoy this article?

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🌎 At SIGNEWORDS, we integrate language consultancy and translation services in all languages. To check all our services and ask for a free quote, contact us HERE 

2 Responses

  1. Hi there! Just wondering if you can recommend any travel/tourism specific dictionaries, encyclopedias, translation resources etc.

    1. Dear Lorena
      Thank you very much for your question. We use lots of them, depending on the job. We recommend using a variety instead of just always the same one or two. We prefer using a combination of resources and keep finding new ones. Sometimes you need a source for a specific job that will be perfect for it but not for others. So we’d recommend not sticking to particular sources.
      All the best!