The global tourism sector accounted for $1.4 trillion in export earnings in 2013 and its growth predictions remain optimistic. If you’ve been operating in the tourism industry, you also know that much of this growth is being driven by countries where English is not the first language.
For instance, in 2012, the number of tourists from China was greater than that from Germany and the US put together. But it’s not just the Chinese who’re itching to travel – Brazil, India, and Russia, too, have become important source markets for travel.
Hence, the need to translate website content in the travel industry has now become as important as any other marketing tool.
If your company is new to translation, you might be a little overwhelmed, at least initially, by the range of choices. For a successful multilingual content strategy, spend some time in planning and preparing for translation. Here’s how:
Which Translation Method?
You can choose from human or machine translation (MT), or crowdsource translation.
Only human translation can guarantee you the highest quality, but you must also support it with the right technology and not go for something old-school.
Free MT is not advisable for enterprise-level translation. But you can also buy trained MT engines suitable to your domain, whose output quality is better than the free engines. However, you should still not use MT for any marketing, consumer-facing content, unless it’s highly repetitive like on an e-commerce site. Even in such cases, some level of human post-editing of the raw output is required.
Crowdsourced or volunteer translation is chosen by very few companies, as it doesn’t suit everyone. First off, unless you’re a company like Facebook, you may not have that many passionate users to help you pull off translation within your deadlines. Secondly, again, the quality will not be the same as that delivered by professional translators. You may also need a language service provider (LSP) to help you with the project management.
Most companies go for human translation, but some may opt for MT for certain types of content.
How Much Will It Cost?
Translation cost depends on a number of variables like which translation method and technology you choose, the amount of content to be translated, and so on.
However, early on into translation, do not get stuck with the translation return on investment debate. At a time when less than a fifth of the world’s online population is made up of native English speakers, translation is no longer an option, but a business necessity. If your company wouldn’t think of staffing its overseas store with staff who cant speak the local language, why then hesitate in making your website multilingual?
Which Translation Technology to Choose?
There are a range of computer-assisted translation tools for translation memory, terminology management, etc. Then there are overarching translation management systems (TMS) that cover all of the above elements and more.
If you choose tools that offer piecemeal solutions, you will spend time and money in getting the jigsaw puzzle right.
Turnkey translation solutions like Smartling , on the other hand, offer a completely cloud-based TMS that captures, manages, and delivers translated content. When combined with the Global Delivery Network capability, it does away with the need to internationalize your code. We offer website as well as mobile app localization for the tourism sector.
The demand for multilingual, localized travel content is increasing and time to market is decreasing. If you’re interested in a technology solution for translating your travel website, get in touch.