The importance of translation into English in the tourism sector

Why having travel information translated is important for tourists: facts and figures

According to the BBC 6.5m British holidaymakers visited Spain during the first six months of 2014, while France remained the most popular destination with 83m foreign visitors ( However the British lack of ability when it comes to understanding foreign languages is legendary. Indeed, it has been suggested that only 25% of British people can hold a basic conversation in a foreign language ( with 15% being able to hold a basic conversation in French. A separate report claims that “23% of the UK population can speak or understand French… and 8% can speak or understand Spanish” ( What these reports mean for foreign businesses is that in order to market their products and services to British customers they must make information available in English.

Impact of poorly translated tourist information: facts and figures

A study conducted in 2013 revealed that 59% of Britons would not use a company with poor grammar on its website ( What this suggests is that in order to attract British customers, businesses need to make sure their content in English is flawless. If this is not the case, it might lead to confusion about how to book your products or services. It may also suggest that your staff do not speak English and therefore that a British customer’s holiday is going to be negatively impacted by the language barrier, thus making them reluctant to use your services.

How to get your company’s tourist information translated by a professional

It is important to only use a native speaker of the target language for your translations. Therefore if you are getting a text translated from French or Spanish into English you should use a native English speaker. Automated translation tools such as Google Translate can provide word- for-word translations but cannot produce idiomatic language or help with descriptive texts and will therefore do nothing to enhance you business’ reputation. Nor is it enough to ask your friend or colleague who speaks English – while they may be able to hold a conversation in English, they are unlikely to be able to reproduce the imagery and nuances of your original text in the way a trained native speaker can. A professional translator will have in-depth knowledge of both your country’s culture and that of your potential customer and will therefore know if any terms need to be explained rather than merely transferred into the other language.

When you contact a translator it is important to give them as much information as you can about the project, for example what type of translation is it? – website, brochure, travel guide and who is the intended reader? – company employees, other companies, potential clients so that they can help you decide the best way to translate your text.


To read what my clients think please click here.

To see samples of my French into English work please click here.

To see samples of my Spanish into English work please click here.

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