It has been a turbulent few years for the travel industry and even now things are still in flux.

But as the sector begins to bounce back from the pandemic and we all look to shake off our lockdown cabin fever and swap the kitchen table for a cruise deck or a beachside cocktail, now is the perfect time for booking platforms and tourism providers to start drumming up new business – and using translation to reach customers where they are.

Given the inherently global and cross-border nature of the travel sector, translation inevitably has a key role to play in the conversion process.

So for this month’s edition of the blog, we thought we would take some time to share what we have learned from our experience providing tourism translations over the years. Below are four key things to consider when ordering a translation within the field of tourism:

Number One: Users Search in their Native Languages

Perhaps your first question might be: why go multilingual to begin with? The main thing to consider here is how people use the internet. Although the English language is pervasive in cyber space, studies have shown time and time again that users prefer to search for and engage with content in their own language .

That means if your website is multilingual or translated into English only, potential customers searching in their native language might never find you to begin with – and if they do, they might be quick to close tabs and cruise off towards more welcoming climes if they aren’t able to very quickly find what they need.

The key questions to ask yourself here are what markets you want to target. Unless you are a huge booking platform or multinational operator, it might not be feasible to translate your content into dozens upon dozens of languages. Instead, identify which markets offer the best potential to build your business and get your content translated into those languages.

The Nordic languages in particular may be worth considering. Consumers in these markets have strong purchasing power and they don’t break the mould when it comes to how they browse the internet – even despite their high levels of proficiency in English.

What’s more, studies have shown that Nordic languages are underrepresented online – which means there is an opportunity here for savvy tourism operators to capture more of this market through the use of translation.

Number Two: Localise, Localise, Localise

Now that you’ve made the decision to translate into a strategic selection of languages, the next thing is to consider what information will need to be localised.

Your existing content likely cites currencies and distances in line with the conventions of your country, so you will need to make sure you hire a translator or a translation agency who knows to look out for these details and convert them for the target readership.

Another thing to keep in mind here is what pre-existing knowledge your original texts might assume. Imagine for example that you are a tour operator based in Denmark.

Your Danish website might make reference to different towns and cities and assume knowledge about their location and what they’re known for. Visitors from outside of Denmark will not have the same vault of knowledge about these places.

Your text may therefore need to be adapted to fit with what your target readership knows. This means spelling out certain things – like the fact Odense is a large city or that Møn is an island known for its chalk-white cliffs – or even rewriting information that is less relevant.

Bornholm might be a sunshine destination to the Danes, but European consumers with the whole continent at their disposal are less likely to choose it over the Costa del Sol. You might want to highlight its quirky round churches and stunning rock formations instead.

Number Three: Rules, Requirements and Reassurance

Since the pandemic, consumer confidence in the travel sector has taken a hit and part of the challenge now is to help reassure potential holidaymakers who are wary about going abroad.

This means that tourism businesses now need to think more about rules and requirements and this is something to consider when ordering translations and preparing texts for localisation. Particularly in the cruise and aviation sectors where post-Covid rules may still be restrictive or off-putting.

Another thing to keep in mind is that rules and regulations are liable to change, not just because of pandemic restrictions and the emergence and recession of new variants, but also due to other factors such as Brexit.

This means your translations may need to be updated at regular intervals. It is therefore a good idea to select a translation agency you can build a lasting relationship with for speedy and efficient repeat orders when needed.

Number Four: Consider a Staggered Translation Process

Perhaps at this stage you might be on board with the need to order tourism translation services for your website, but a little unsure about what this might cost. Maybe your website is very extensive with reams and reams of pages built up over the years for different accommodation options, tours or advice on different destinations and resorts.

If this is the case for you, then the solution may be to consider putting your content into a hierarchy and translating it at different stages. You can then choose to leave certain pages untranslated and when you experience the desired success on a new market you can continue the translation process.

The key objective is to attract customers to your website and the best way is of course to have crucial content translated as it is a proven fact that people search in their own language when they plan their holidays.

Tourism Translations You Can Trust

We hope you have found these tips insightful and useful – and if they have inspired you to order tourism translation services then please feel very welcome to get in touch with us.

We have many years of experience providing translations for the travel industry to a range of different clients including some big players in the industry. We know what it takes to produce quality travel translations and leave nothing to chance.

You can read more about our tourism translation services here or get in touch today for a non-binding chat about your text and needs.