Most translators enjoy translating for the tourist industry. It gives them the opportunity to be creative with their translation. Not only that but translators get the chance to read and learn about some of the most interesting tourist destinations when they are preparing the translations. This doesn’t mean that translating for the tourist industry is an easy way to make money, as this is not necessarily the case. It does have its own challenges.


#1Challenge One

One of the most important challenges of translating tourist literature is ensuring the translation is of the highest quality. A poorly translated text can inflict long-term damage on a tourist company’s reputation. A 2013 survey indicated that 82 percent of the British would not consider buying a tourist company’s product if information about it was poorly translated on its website. So if a company chooses to use Google Translate which is an automatically generated translation to do its tourist information translations it is not likely to reach a high ranking on Google searches.

Tourism has many branches

Branches in the tourist sector include aviation, hotel, food, drink, culture and sports events. They all need slightly different translation skills which need a professional human translator.

#2Challenge Two

Every country has its own specific culture when it comes to tourism’s main branches. This means there are many culture-specific terms that need to be accurately translated whether it is words used specifically for food, events or locations. While trying to translate them often results in a mix of sentences that do not really make sense and can even cause confusion if the translator cannot find just the right translation. A good example is the cream tea and Cornish pasty in the South West of England. There is unlikely to be a direct equivalent when translating into another language so the translator has to be very imaginative if the translation offers the same understanding as the original text.

#3Challenge Three

Sticking to the Brand

When a tourism venture chooses a human translator and not a machine translation, some translators sometimes try to translate the text far too literally so it doesn’t really sound that attractive. The one way to deal with this translation challenge is to get the tourist company to explain more clearly what sort of tone the tourist company wants injected into the translation so the translated text can be more creative. The purpose of the majority of texts targeting tourists is to persuade interested tourists to visit a place or use a service so the language that’s used in the translation should be unique and vivid.

Reflecting a tourist brand’s style is not an easy thing to do for a translator. Tourist operators who require a translation need to spend a substantial amount of time explaining to the translator on how they want the translation to sound, what the tone should be and the type of words that should be used in the translation.

A good way to help a translator is to show him/her some different types of marketing materials for a tourism product such as those posted in the different types of tourist media such as brochures, magazines, photographs social media and web pages. This gives the translator a feel for the tourism product. The translator will be able to create a far better and more accurate translation if exposed to the tourism product.

#4Challenge Four

Not knowing a Place

Not knowing a place means translating a place that the translator has never seen. This can be an extremely difficult task as much has to be left to the imagination. Often it is just too hard to accurately describe a place that the translator has never seen. Sometimes it is important to create an accurate translation especially if it is describing where to go on a popular hiking trail. Clear, accurate translations are essential for activities which could involve any dangers. Any ambiguities in the translation could mean a person is put in danger when trying to understand the text. The tourist operator could help the translator a little by providing detailed photos of the tourist site.

Finally, for the above challenges, it is often better to consult the client before starting a translation. S/he may be able to provide some extra information that will guide you to provide a more accurate but effective translation.