Tourism industry – Important tips to avoid embarrassing yourself with an incorrect translation!

Travelling and tourism have become easier with the spread of English as a universal language and the advancement of the internet. Travel agencies are becoming less frequented and people are taking it upon themselves to plan their holidays or weekend getaways every year. With more and more websites that facilitate this process, such as Expedia or TripAdvisor, finding the perfect destination is easier than ever! Yet if the client doesn’t speak the native language spoken at this destination, getting around and finding places to visit might be hard. This is why translation is so important for the tourism industry. Translation for hotels, restaurants, museums, tour groups, airports, etc. is becoming less of a “should” and more of a “how.” If your business doesn’t have its website or tourist materials professionally translated into different languages, you are already losing out on many clients.

Anyone who has traveled outside of their home country and visited places where they don’t speak the native language has seen at least a couple of horrible translations that can make anyone laugh. This is the case when staying at hotels, visiting museums, eating at local restaurants, etc., that are trying to cater to tourists. This proves that translation is needed more than ever in this industry.

Why translation is important for businesses

Tourists come from all over the world to visit cities like Paris, New York City, and Cancun. In cities that have a large tourist influx, the competition is tough. Having materials in the native language of guests will help improve the chances of having travelers coming to eat or staying at your establishment.

Really? Because we aren’t so sure you do… When people are booking their holidays, they prefer to search for materials in their native language. Having a website that is translated into several languages and a concierge that speaks more than one language will give your establishment more recognition.

Even though English is becoming more universal, providing brochures, menus, or signs in multiple languages helps tourists feel not so overwhelmed and make them feel welcomed. When these materials are badly translated, it can confuse guests even more and make them not want to come back. Be careful because word of mouth marketing can either make or break your success with tourists. Bad reviews have caused businesses to close down. It’s imperative to create a welcoming environment for guests and, by providing materials in their mother tongue, you will be making their stay that much easier.

Why translation is important for travelers

Visiting a new country can be scary for many people but going to new places and having intercultural experiences seem to be gaining importance for many and a language barrier won’t hold them back. Making connecting flights, ordering off the menu, or using public transportation in a foreign city can be daunting tasks, but when signage and written materials are translated professionally into multiple languages they don’t seem as intimidating.

When faced with bad translated signes, tourists can be quickly confused (after a burst of laughter of course). “What are they trying to tell me?!” Getting to an airport on time or entering the correct bathroom can really depend on the accuracy of translations. When tourists leave for holiday, they are hoping for a pleasant experience, far from stress and worry, but when you can’t find out where you need to go it can cause you to curse in the name of language barriers and foreign countries.

Why professional translators are necessary

As you may have seen on the Internet with bad translations, using Google Translate or a person who is partially bilingual can be detrimental to an establishment. Low-quality translations may send tourists screaming in the other direction, with good reason (Paul is Dead doesn’t seem like a very appetizing choice from a hotel buffet…).

Bad translations can cause people to take the wrong train, order something that they are allergic to, or even jump off a cliff (if you are someone who follows the instructions on all printed signs). That is why safety is also a big factor when it comes to translating. Machine translation has room for errors, but professional human translators can ensure that the meaning is correctly conveyed and that visitors will be able to understand written texts.

If your business wants customers that speak highly about their experience, feel comfortable and safe using your services, feel welcomed by staff, and are happy with materials in their mother tongue, hiring a professional translator is indispensable. That is why hiring a translation agency like Smylingua, is the solution to your problem. Do not hesitate anymore, contact us now by phone at +33 1 76 43 32 76 or by email at for your translation projects.


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