Picture this.

You’ve got amazing content and stunning images for your hotel or tourism website, with some of the best writing you’ve seen in the industry and traffic is great. The next step now is to take your business into international markets.

In the travel and hospitality industry, you know that your business would do better if you accommodated your overseas guests with not just your website but also signages and menus in the preferred languages of your target audiences and markets.

All you need now is to get that translation done. Sounds simple enough, right?

Except that the next decision you need to make is how you’re going to do it in a way that preserves the integrity of meaning in the source language and intent of your collaterals, when it gets translated into the target language. 

And this is where things can go really, really wrong.

Take, for instance, the examples of disastrous translations below:

  • KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan was mistranslated into “Eat your fingers off” in the Chinese translation.
  • Remember “Got Milk”? That tag line was mistranslated into “Are you lactating?” in the California Milk Processor Board’s Spanish version of their ad campaign.
  • Jolly Green Giant became the “Intimidating Green Ogre” when translated into Arabic.
  • HSBC’s current slogan is “The world’s private bank” but its 1999 slogan, “Assume nothing” slogan was mistranslated in some languages as “Do nothing.”

While companies like HSBC and KFC may have the resources to recover from such translation blunders (HSBC’s rebranding efforts cost them $10 million), not every business can afford the cost of such mistakes, not forgetting the embarrassment it brings to one’s brand.

You have already spent a great deal of time and effort engaging and building trust with your target markets. A lot of investment has already gone into branding for your company.

This is why it is additionally important to work with a website translation agency who specialises in hotel, travel and tourism content, because good translations take your brand a step further, opening your business up to emerging markets and connecting you to customers from various language and cultural backgrounds.

There are various compelling reasons that suggest calling in the professionals might be a good idea. Professionals who are experienced to handle industry-specific content, with the knowledge and ability to bring life to your content in any language.

One such example is a Transcreation (Creative Translation) agency.

Maintaining a Professional Reputation

When trying to adapt your hotel to the needs of international tourists, you want to ensure that your guests have the best user experience - and this includes paying attention to minor details in the language of website and marketing collaterals that cater to them in their own native language.

With this added dimension of satisfaction, they would be more likely to spread the word and leave great reviews online. A poorly translated website could put your establishment’s reputation at great risk.

Continued Reading:

Tips on managing multilingual websites
Planning to add more languages to your website? Read this first.

Preventing Potential Conflict

While a poorly translated item on the menu may lead to a few laughs among your diners, never underestimate the potential of poor translations leading to misunderstandings or worse, physical confrontations, between staff and customers, especially if something as avoidable as a poor translation was at its root.

What is worse is in the case of a poorly translated menu, the ramifications could include major allergic reactions on the part of diners or worse, fatality - simply because of ingredients that have been erroneously translated.

Attracting Potential Profit

Poor translations could also lead to customers getting upset and taking their business elsewhere. So essentially, if you’re looking to cater to a specific group of customers by translating your website and other collateral, don’t scrimp - get the experts.

That additional panache in translations could make all the difference in determining whether customers return or not - and the resulting potential for profit.

Losing Out To Your Competition

When travelling, it is fairly common for things to get "Lost in Translation" and a little confusion is probably expected - as long as that confusion is not coming from your business!

However, as a business you don’t want to have shoddy translations as they are unforgivable. Poor quality translations are only going to help the competition by taking business away from you. They also give the impression that your company is not entirely interested in providing the best user experience to your customers.

In a world like today where customers have a multitude of options to choose from, this might mean a loss of revenue when customers then decide to patronise another establishment and forgo yours.

In short, badly translated content, or bad content in any language not only affects your brand reputation and overall customer satisfaction, it also hits the bottom line. Hard.

It is also a lot less expensive getting in the likes of IPPWORLD, a transcreation agency, from the very start than to scramble for corrections when a nightmare scenario like one of the examples described above begin to unfold.

A professional transcreation (creative translation) agency will also have expert knowledge on cultural differences and nuances, making it less likely for mistakes like the one below to occur:

Procter and Gamble’s advertising campaign for Pampers diapers in Japan featured a stork delivering a baby, which confused Japanese customers because, according to Japanese culture, it was giant peaches floating down rivers that brought babies, not storks.

So, it’s pretty obvious that when conveying clear and correct meaning, it requires more than just the knowledge of language and grammar across languages!

With translations, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

So, when it’s time to get that translation and localisation done, you’d breathe a lot easier if you get an industry-specific translation service than rely on dodgy translations that could cost you customers or worse, damage your hard-earned business reputation.