Why having travel information translated is important for tourists: facts and figures
According to the BBC 6.5m British tourists visited Spain during the first six months of 2014, while France remained the most popular destination with 83m foreign visitors (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28418913). However, the British lack of ability when it comes to understanding foreign languages is well known. Indeed, it has been suggested that only 25% of British people can hold a basic conversation in a foreign language (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10460432/Three-quarters-of-adults-cannot-speak-a-foreign-language.html) 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” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_United_Kingdom). 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.
A study conducted in 2013 revealed that 59% of Britons would not use a company with poor grammar on its website (http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/24623-poor-grammar-on-websites-scares-59-away). 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 British customers are going to have problems with the language barrier. This could make 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. Therefore they will do nothing to build your 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 style 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. As a result, they will 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 so that they can help you decide the best way to translate your text. For example, what type of translation is it – website, brochure, travel guide and who is the intended reader? – company employees, other companies, potential clients.