Translation and Tourism: getting multilingual ready for 2012

Looking at facts and figures relating to tourism in the United Kingdom can give us an insight into why people visit the country, what they look forward to the most, and why they would return.  This is very important in the world of translation, in order to offer services to industries that would benefit the most from translating their websites, brochures and menus, to name but a few.

With the Olympics coming up next year, which will attract a huge number of multilingual tourists from all over the world, this is the perfect time to look at the statistics, and determine which areas of British culture are likely to attract visiting tourists.  Companies within these fields could potentially reap huge rewards from offering details of their services in the right languages so that foreign tourists can understand what is on offer, and make the most of their trip to the UK.  Not to mention that upon receiving a warm welcome, and being addressed in their own language, those tourists are more likely to think highly of our culture and country in general, and potentially more likely to recommend a visit, or even to return themselves.

The Historic Royal Palaces website, for example, has localised its site in both French and Spanish – perhaps not enough to welcome all foreign visitors, but it’s a start! London Zoo meanwhile, (with the superb help of Web-Translations) chose to translate its site into German, French, Italian, Polish and Spanish in order to reach international visitors.

As reported in the BBC recently, according to UK Music, “at least 7.7 million visits to events in 2009 resulted in £1.4bn being spent, equivalent to a positive contribution to the economy of £864m.”  Meanwhile, Visit Britain recorded that in 2009, “around 2.2 million stage-struck foreign tourists spent £1.9 billion on trips that included going to London’s theatres”, stating that “one in six” tourists coming from overseas went to a show, regardless of whether they were on holiday or business.  This figure jumped to “one in four among the 1.5 million holidaymakers”.

This knowledge can be put to good use in 2012, particularly as, although only 13% of theatregoers stated a trip to the theatre as their main reason for visiting the country, those who went to see a play or a show were much more likely to recommend the UK as a holiday destination than those who didn’t.  If a good impression is made during the Olympics, when visitors, although coming specifically for the Games, can be tempted to sample other aspects of British culture, this could provide a boost for the UK tourism industry in general.

Translation is extremely important in order to welcome foreign tourists; to ensure that they understand the vast range of events and activities on offer, so that they can thoroughly enjoy their visit.  With so many people flocking to the country next year, companies throughout Britain must take advantage of this opportunity to show just what a welcoming, diverse, enjoyable destination it is for overseas travellers.