Last week I came across this interesting article on managing multi-language hotel web-sites. This is a summary of the points made by Niklas Schlappkohl, senior director of eCommerce at The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, during a recent webinar organized by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Europe. His advice is based on the vast experience of the Group in localizing their sites for different markets across the world.
It might be an interesting read both for hotel owners thinking of offering a version of their website in another language, and translators, who like me specialize in this type of translation. For me it was a valuable opportunity to get into the head of my potential clients and see what they need and believe to be useful.
As a professional translator I can add a couple of tips of my own:
- Contrary to Mr. Schlappkhol’s opinion, I would not advise you to risk your brand reputation and trust your staff members without a background in linguistics to translate the content, if this is something that your clients will see, even if for a short time. You would not ask your accountant to write the copy for your site, so why entrust someone without the necessary skills with translation of the materials that represent your brand?
- Always try to allocate enough time for the translation phase of your site localization. When translating web-content for a hotel, a good translator is not just transferring the meaning of the words from one language into the other. He or she is transcreating you brand’s message in their own language. This requires understanding your brand first, which takes some time.
- Although partnering up with a big translation agency for translating your site into several languages might seem like a good idea, it has some hidden pitfalls, one of them being the absence of direct communication between you and the person, who will do the translation for you, which might increase the turnaround time for your project or compromise the quality.
- Another thing you should keep in mind, if you decide to buy translation services from a translation company, is that they work with numerous translators, whose quality of work might differ greatly. So if you’re happy with the first result of your cooperation, make sure to inform your account manager about it and insist of having the same translation team work on your future projects.
What about your experience with translating your web-sites into other languages? Were there any problems you have encountered? How did you solve them? Did the localization bring the expected results? If you’re a translator, I would love to hear your advice for localizing sites for the travel industry.
Photo by Gabriel Ghnassia.