Language in tourism
The importance of language in tourism has grown exponentially and has come to influence all aspects of social life. Today, tourism and all that it entails, are one of the most important and dynamic industries in the world. Tourism professionals, tourists and the local population, experience a very unique and comprehensive communication aspect.
Whenever we visit a foreign country, we understand peacefully that locals may not understand what we say. We also accept well that we may not be expressing ourselves to the best of our knowledge. However, when interacting with a travel agency, or any other tourism professional, it is harder for us to tolerate misinterpretations by these entities.
In fact, for professionals in this industry, it is essential not only to attract visitors to the places where they explore the activity, but also to ensure that tourists will have a memorable experience. This means that they will certainly want to return in the near future.
It is precisely in this highly positive experience that specialized translation services play a central role.
Seemingly simple materials, such as travel guides, tourist brochures, signposting, and information that people often use when on vacation, should be translated correctly. Otherwise, they may cause some inconvenience by giving wrong information or even causing laughter: as many situations of poor translation also result in funny or meaningless phrases.
Some of the most common examples, come from translations made by locals in China. When using machine translators, they do not realize what they are actually publishing. This is mainly about the complexity of writing, but also about the lack of care in correcting these machine translations.
A cute example, was a Chinese to English translation of a fire extinguisher signaling. This resulted in a text saying: “Hand grenade”.
These errors in China are such, that the Chinese government has issued a ten-tip guide to translating Chinese into English. This document seeks to ensure, that certain information useful to tourists is translated correctly.
This action unequivocally shows the government’s concern about the impression that bad translations give the country. In the case of China, many of the translation errors become comical. However, after many years of inefficient translations, the result begins to weigh negatively.
In addition to useful information that does not fulfill its function because they are poorly translated, the historical and cultural aspects, which we proudly want to make known to those who visit us, lose their brightness and the intended effect. This is because the words used to spread, promote and dazzle are misapplied.
In this industry, the use of professional translators is very important. They have not only a working knowledge of the target language, but also of the cultural and social environment.
Communication in tourism becomes above all an aspirational language. More than telling a story, talking about a place, it is selling a product and making communication come to life. This idea is the reason why people travel to a destination and also the reason why they return.
Language in tourism and cultural differences should not be viewed as a barrier. Diversity is an opportunity to go further, creating different strategies according to the target audience and looking to expand the number of visitors.
In a globalized world, where tourism reaches unprecedented marks and directly depends on the image it spreads, it is more important than ever for tour operators to make the right translations. The good image and experience you cause today will have a positive impact tomorrow.
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