01 Jun Hotel Translation
International Travel is increasing at a breakneck pace. As disposable income in emerging markets has risen, so has global travel.
If you are reading this article in another language than English, it has been automatically translated by our WordPress Multilingual Plugin.
In fact, in 2014, over half of all international travelers to the USA (excluding Mexico and Canada) came from China. Similarly, visitors from countries such as Russia, South America and Continental Europe are rising at a steady pace. All of these international visitors means a diverse potential guest pool for hotels. This ultimately necessitates the need for a hotel translation.
Similarly, given that we live in an increasingly digital world, this allows for a great opportunity for hotels to market to these consumers online. However, before you can ever start targeting these potential guests, you need to translate and localize your website. Hence, we have decided to give you a helpful guide to translating your Hotel’s website.
Hotel Translation Checklist
Before you can get your hotel’s website localized, you have to consider your feeder markets. Where are the majority of your guests coming from? For example, is it located in a sunny location where Russians like to frequent during their freezing winters? Is the city a popular destination for organized Japanese tours? Where do the direct international flights to your city originate from? Once you have identified your potential guests, you can begin localizing.
1. Understand the Local Nuances
Now that you have identified your potential guests, you need to take some time to understand their cultural nuances. This is needed in order to most appropriately hone your localization strategy. Localization is about more than merely changing the words on your site. For example, how can you adjust your promotional pitch to appeal to the right Call to Action (CTA) cues for these international guests. Perceptions of quality and value differ across cultures and hence, so must your message.
Similarly, you need to determine whether your intended users speak a particular dialect of a broader language. For example, if you have potential guests from both Portugal and Brazil, you would want to provide a translation for both dialects. This is because the Portuguese spoken in these two countries differs significantly. The same can be said for Egyptian and Emirati Arabic etc.
It may help to take a look at the websites of hotels that are located in your potential guest’s countries. This will allow you to get a sense of the way your site should appear. Below is an example of the Éclat Hotel in Beijing.
2. Get your Content Translated
Armed with your new understanding of your target consumers, you can begin translating your website into your target languages. Although tempting for it’s relative ease, Machine Translation is a sub-optimal solution. Native speakers can easily spot a translation that has been generated via automated tools. This sometimes annoys them and can make your hotel seem unprofessional. The problem becomes even more acute with a hotel translation into languages such as Arabic or Chinese which use completely different alphabets and writing systems.
Transcreation is the process of adapting a marketing message or “creative translation”. This tweaks your content such that it speaks to the cultural nuances mentioned above. When a foreign guest views the content it will appeal to them on their terms and appear as if written exclusively for them.
3. Dates and Times
Dates and Times vary according to region. Hence, there exists the opportunity for confusion when allowing your guests to book. For example, in the U.S. it is commonplace to present the date as MM/DD/YY. However, in Europe the date is presented as DD/MM/YY. Furthermore, some countries like China and Japan begin with the year.
4. Currency and Measurements
Considering that a booking is the main purpose of reaching international consumers, adapting the prices and payment options on your website is essential. This includes not only the conversion into your guest’s currency but also the format in which the numbers are presented. These usually differ in their representation of thousands. Although a comma is used in the US (1,000), a full stop and a space are used in Germany (1.000) and France (1 000) respectively. When it comes to accepting payments, most guests would be happy to pay with a credit card from one of the major providers. However, when it comes to Chinese guests, many would prefer paying with Union pay. This option is already being provided by a number of hotels with Chinese guests.
Similarly, when you are considering descriptions of size, don’t only use feet and inches. This is because the majority of your guests are likely to come from countries that use the metric system.
Here is an example of the room description for the Peninsula Hotel in New York. As you can see, they provide the room size in both feet and meters.
5. Provide for a Language Switcher
If you were going to enable automatic language detection of your user’s browser language, you would have to provide them with the opportunity to switch the language should they prefer an alternative one.There a number of Language Switcher best practices one has to consider. Generally though, a list of the available languages listed in that language is considered the most user friendly. To the right you will see an example of the language switcher used by the Mandarin Oriental group. If you are not going to be localizing your hotel for a particular country, don’t use flags. These are not the best representation of languages.
6. Consider translating other Material
Even though you hope to receive international bookings through your website, those same guests will be staying in your hotel. Hence, you should consider the entire foreign guest experience. Have you translated all of your signage? It could be quite frustrating for a foreign guest to find their way especially during emergencies. Have you considered offering local information in other languages in your reception area? The publishers of these local guides usually already provide them in other languages.
Choose a Professional Hotel Translation
Following the above checklist will no doubt help you reach your international guests. However, if you wanted to really distinguish yourself from your competitors, you could make use of the Professional Travel Translation Services at Scrybs. Our travel translators are based in country and are well suited to refining your hotel translation to a tee.