Boost tourism through proper translation
Fiction has merged with reality in one of the most serious health crises we have ever experienced worldwide and affected tourism.
With the new normality already quite established and in the middle of a situation of pseudo-stability that is still unknown, we are dying to return to our usual places: to the bars and cafes, to the old bookshops, to the small stores and markets and, of course, to the arms of our loved ones. However, the financial consequences of these months of lockdown are becoming increasingly visible. In parallel to the desire to go abroad, there is also the fear that these places are no longer there, or if they are, that we will encounter the virus, which also gives rise to an enormous lack of confidence.
National and international tourism
In Spain, without going very far, there are many places strongly supported by national and international tourism in an immense network of hotels, restaurants, shopping and recreational centers, to mention a few, and this directly affects the economy of our country, since tourism is one of the fundamental pillars of income for Spain. The truth is that tourism is one of the sectors that is going to be left behind in this recovery for reasons inherent to the activity itself. The fear of crowds, of using public transport and the apparent passiveness or ignorance of the population towards the subject seem to be sufficient reasons to decide not to go out and, therefore, to remain stationary and consequently not to go on vacation. And this is totally understandable! However, it is possible that many other people need to get out to their local bars –which, although they may have remained open during the quarantine, under certain restrictions, provide a bit of socializing and the atmosphere that summer brings to the terraces–, to enjoy what seems to be a small break from the uncertain future ahead.
The question that arises now is: Is it possible to live a normal life in the post-pandemic era? The answer is a resounding yes, but, as always, with prudence and adequate resources. Global tourism has the difficult task of encouraging people to travel, and if half of the local population does not go out, other alternatives will have to be sought. Addressing the foreign public in the right and proper way is one of the best initiatives that exist, and that is achieved with the help of a good translator. And, since tourism is a sector that encompasses many areas –from a website or a mobile application to the menu of restaurants or the posters of recreational areas, hotels, museums and various services– it is best to have a specialized translator. Not only will they know how to adapt to this diversity, but they will also have the necessary ingenuity to achieve the main objective: to reactivate tourism at all levels. And, therefore, reactivate the economy, a very important point to bear in mind.
Professional specialized translator
Given the risks involved in going on vacation, with the situation caused by the pandemic, it is important for travelers to feel that they can travel with peace of mind. A professional translator specialized in this context is able to create a sense of calm that transmits to people the comfort of deciding how and where they want to travel. For example, it can happen that an original text is addressed to the public with enthusiasm because, hey, how nice that we can already go on vacation. However, before jumping into the void, one must also consider that the impact of the disease has not been the same in all countries and the target text should not give the impression that it is. This is linked to the fact that people need to feel safe. If a slogan is too strong and is translated literally, it could be seen as too aggressive or imposing for the target reader.
These two very important characteristics are not too far removed from a real communicative situation and fall within the ability to have empathy for others. This is achieved by studying carefully the current needs. A specialized translator knows how to put themselves in the traveler’s shoes. This leads one, for example, to avoid certain words or expressions considered typical in these environments, and to create personalized texts that know how to address the desired audience. It is not worth the copying of the template in question because, in the end, the final recipients are the people.
fasttxt.es: years of experience
Moreover, the nice and positive thing about this is that, behind the text that the traveler reads, there is also a person who has written it -wink, wink; nudge, nudge- and who has gone through the same situation. As a good specialized translator, you have to know how to generate confidence in a specific context. The professional strain of years of experience has led me to focus on the more technical aspects of a text of this type, but consumers also notice very clearly when an advertising poster has been written by a person or a robot, without the corresponding revision. This is also where the credibility of the target text comes in. It is more than likely that many translations deal with places or things that the translator has not tried or where they have never been, so agencies must be very careful about creating false expectations.
Setting aside the human factor a bit, it’s worth mentioning the small point of ingenuity of the subject. Tourism translation often overlaps with transcreation or localization, so the translator is required to have a minimum of creativity and a good vocabulary foundation. A specialized translator knows that imagination flies free and that the length of a text is not proportional to its creative difficulty. It is not uncommon to find intertextual elements of the source culture in a slogan or corporate poster, and this can always be used for the target translation. Moreover, this issue is more important than it seems for the economy because it is a good way to help small businesses with creativity.
Finally, I think it is essential to point out that not all of us have lived through this crisis in the same way. A lot of people have been put out of work in the blink of an eye, and both humanitarian aid NGOs and food banks have seen their activity increase in recent months. This concerns translation because it must be impartial towards all parties and avoid social discrimination whenever the source text allows it –especially with people at risk of social exclusion– but neither should the integration of other types of groups be overlooked, regardless of race or gender.
Investing in a good translation
As a new experience, the pandemic is teaching us that nothing is certain about this issue and that the fear of anticipating and having to backtrack is still there. However, there will always be something that each person can do to help prevent the disease. Investing in a good translation when it comes to international tourism is no longer just a matter of the function of the final text, but, in these times, it is beginning to be a matter of public safety. Doing things right never hurts. Do you need more reasons to hire a professional translator?
Written by: Lucía Blázquez García
Freelance translator specialized in tourist texts and transcreation and part of the fasttxt.es team