The benefits of translation for tourism boards

How translation and transcreation can help reap even more rewards from a smart inbound tourism strategy.

Over the years I have helped several tourism boards – from Europe, America and Asia – localize and adapt their contents for the Italian market.

As destination communication has evolved with countries becoming true brands in all respects, translation and transcreation* have become key in recreating the national identity for the target audience of other countries, thus attracting more visitors and reputation.

Innovative inbound campaigns

In recent times, many destination marketing organizations have upped their game, adopting new business models and producing smart, creative campaigns. An example is Visit Faroe Island, which is leveraging ingenious ideas thus making up for a staff of just seven people: for instance with the latest Closed for maintenance campaign or the Sheep view idea, to push Google to map the islands.

Other strategies may include working with influencers, campaigns aimed at high-yield international travellers for long-distance destinations or strategic partnerships, like those implemented by Wonderful Copenhagen with the national airline industry, promoting each other while sharing costs.

Why localize

Dispersing the creative and innovative capital of a well-conceived strategy with no localization or, even worse, machine translated contents, would be losing out on a wealth of opportunities – and arrivals.

Notwithstanding the English proficiency of the target audience, localizing contents boosts engagement levels and projects a professional image among the prospective visitors.

Translation strategies and benefits

Translating all the contents would naturally be the best solution, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Should the budget be limited for a specific country or should there be a need to evaluate the results of a translation strategy step by step, today data can be a great ally. Analyse data to pinpoint local market needs and segments to address (leisure, meetings & conventions, business or bleisure travellers etc.) and start translating the most urgent contents.

Professional translation is a key asset in a destination management strategy:

 It shows respect for prospective visitors, and helps them engage more deeply with contents where all foreign aspects have been normalized, such as dates, measures, currencies and realia**.

 It boosts engagement and brand loyalty, while avoiding mistakes with regards to habits, cultural conventions and local regulations which can cost dearly: like the 2007 “Where the bloody hell are you” video flop which cost Australia $180 million and a deluge of complaints; or the 2018 embarrassing faux pax of Fiji tourism authorities when they translated a local term into “toilet” instead of “church” causing great offence to the local population.

 It can help you recreate your unique tone of voice in another country and another language, to make you stand out and immediately recognizable.

 It can help you get ahead of the competition, as only a small part of destination marketing contents gets translated, engaging local audiences in their own language.

 It increases arrivals, revenues, ROI.

 It can be leveraged on all media channels and customer touch points.

 It can help establish and further business partnerships, creating mutually beneficial synergies.

The correct adaptation of a marketing campaign can make its success, helping it go viral and multiply its effectiveness.

A good translation should be fluent and adapted to the target market and audience. A marketing, promotional text should also be persuasive, engaging and on-brand.

Translators play an integral part in this strategy, as they are language experts, but also terminologists, cultural and in-country advisers, communication enhancers and brand consultants.

Great ideas and good writing can literally put a destination on the map.


* Transcreation involves localised re-writing of texts of promotional or highly creative nature with the aim to create the same impact in the target language as that of the message conveyed in the original language. The result of transcreation work may differ considerably from the terminology and format of the original text, while adhering faithfully to its content, style and register.

** Realia are words denoting objects, phenomena or concepts belonging only to a specific culture and which don’t have correspondences in other languages.

About the author
I am an Italian specialist in translation and proofediting, working in the marketing, creative and legal fields. I put my many years of experience to the advantage of my clients by creating texts resonating with the Italian-speaking audience and making brands locally relevant. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter or visit my website.