machine translation in tourism marketing

Machine translation in tourism marketing: The difference between giving information and selling a service

Last week, I was fortunate enough to take advantage of the new direct flight connection between Newquay and Alicante. As I was waiting by the check-in desk, I spotted this German leaflet from Coastline Travel:

machine translation in tourism marketing

I was really excited and proud to see that a Cornish business has gone to the trouble of providing a German leaflet. However, to anyone who knows the German language, it’s immediately obvious that this is a machine translation. It is littered with grammatical errors, nonsensical words and typos. As a professional translator, my immediate reaction was to cringe at the poor quality of the translation, particularly because it would have cost very little to translate this small flyer professionally.

But then I asked myself: does the flyer do the trick? And in all honesty, yes it does. Despite the poor German, I could understand the gist of what was being offered and how to go about booking transport. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be perfectly fine to use machine translation like Google Translate to translate all marketing material for your tourism business into other languages? Well, it depends entirely on the context of where the translation appears and what it is you want to achieve.

The bare bones: providing information for your guests

Let’s take another look at the Coastline Travel leaflet: The aim of the flyer is to attract the attention of German tourists who have just landed at Newquay Airport. They are most likely looking for transport from the airport to their accommodation, so they are ready to buy. This is less of a hard sell and more about letting the new arrivals know what it is Coastline Travel offers. It’s about providing information. When we ourselves go on holiday to other countries, we don’t necessarily expect to go to a restaurant and expect a flawless menu in our own mother tongue. As long as we roughly know what it is that we’re about to eat, we’re happy, right? The same goes with informational signage around city centres or information about WiFi or laundry services at hotel receptions. As long as we get the gist, we are content. It doesn’t mean that machine translation is good practice (after all, any type of corporate communication should reflect your business, your brand, in the right light). But in these very specific contexts, where the customers are already there right in front of you – ready to buy – providing a translation (of sorts) can help to bridge the language gap.

Beyond giving information: selling your product or service

But is that, in reality, all you are trying to achieve? Bridging the language gap? Or are you in fact translating this information not just to provide information, but to sell a service/product? Going back to the restaurant menu for a moment, there is a big difference between ordering ‘pork with chips’ and ordering ‘tender medallions of succulent pork with hand-cut, Cajun seasoned chips’. You end up with the same food on your plate but one description conjures up mouth-watering images of beautiful food and contributes to a wonderful dining experience (think good reviews, good tips, repeat custom), while the other one, well, doesn’t.

Particularly when it comes to selling higher-value services like accommodation and spa packages to overseas visitors who book before they set foot on Cornish ground, it’s not enough to just tell them what you have to offer in the most rudimentary form. Using machine translation for your website, for example, is like saying ‘Me hotel, you guest. Here come, pay this much, I bed for you provide.’

When searching online, overseas visitors have a plethora of accommodation options to choose from. As a marketing manager, it is your job to make sure they understand your value proposition – you need them to WANT to stay at your hotel and convert those web visits into booked rooms. And that’s the difference right there. Machine translation brings across information (sometimes). Professional translation helps you to actually sell your product or service.

Did you know that people are six times less likely to purchase from websites that are not presented in their own mother tongue? If you would like to find out more about affordable translation options for your tourism business, please get in touch for a chat and a free quote. We provide a wide range of tourism translation services, including website translation, multi-lingual social media as well as print media like brochures and welcome packs. For some examples of our work, read on to find out how we’ve helped St Michael’s Mount, Newquay BID and Cornish Cycle Tours to connect with overseas visitors.

Not sure if you should be translating anything at all? To get you started, take a look at our bog Marketing translation: the cost of (not) translating your brand.


Welcoming Vincente, our new French translator

It is our pleasure to introduce the lovely Vincente, our new French translator who joined our growing team last week.

Hailing from Orléans, France, Vincente is a bit of a globetrotter, having lived in Denmark and Belgium and also Dundee, Scotland. She is now really excited to get to know the south west of England and further develop her translation skills.

Vincente previously worked as a translator at the UNOPS arm of the UN in Denmark, where she specialised in IT, technical and corporate texts. She graduated from the Université François-Rabelais in Tours, France, in 2011 with a BA in Applied Foreign Languages. Vincente is a linguist through and through, and can also speak German as well as Italian and a bit of Spanish.

Vincente is looking forward to eating some Cornish seafood, sussing out some new running routes in the Newquay area and also giving surfing a go.

Pleased to have you on the team, Vincente!


Sarah Wheldon translation project manager

Say hello to our new Project Manager and translator

A big welcome to Sarah, the newest member of the team. Sarah will be project managing many of our exciting translation jobs and will also be translating into English.

A Cornish bird who has recently flown back to the nest, Sarah previously worked as a Translation Project Manager in London. She missed the sea air and is very excited to be back!

Sarah has a MA in Audiovisual Translation and is fluent in French and Spanish. She has experience in project managing, translating and subtitling for advertising and corporate films.

With experience as an English teacher in Spain, Sarah has a flair and passion for the English language. She also loves reading and creative writing, and in her spare time writes a food blog,

In Newquay, Sarah plans to learn to surf properly after years of failed attempts. She also cannot wait to join one of the local choirs as she loves to sing.

We are really excited to welcome Sarah to our growing team. With a background in audiovisual translation, Sarah brings a new set of skills to our company and we look forward to offering subtitling as a new service in the near future.

Welcome to the team, Sarah!

Web trends affecting translation industry 2016

3 key web trends that will affect the translation industry in 2016

Yesterday, leading Cornwall-based online marketing specialists Niddocks hosted the Niddocks GYM seminar (short for Google, YouTube & Mobile) to get Cornish businesses fighting fit for the year ahead.

Managing director Rob Edlin presented the latest trends that we can expect in online search this year, and he was joined by Danny Burlacu from YouTube, who spoke about the growing adoption of YouTube, both as a search engine and a marketing and advertising platform.

The seminar covered a lot of information (my brain certainly felt like it had a workout), including structured data, smart goals for AdWords and advanced remarketing. To me, the three trends that stood out the most, and which I think will impact the translation industry, are:

1) Safety first: the move from HTTP to HTTPS domains

When information is sent from a webpage on a http domain – for example when you fill in a contact form and submit it – that information is sent unencrypted. It could potentially be seen by someone that it’s not intended for, i.e. the information could be scraped for improper use like spam or phishing.

HTTPS, on the other hand, is a secure domain which only sends information in an encrypted way so that it cannot be deciphered by anyone other than the intended recipient. You might have seen HTTPS in your browser address bar on pages where you have to enter confidential information like credit card details.

Google want to make the whole internet safer and are pushing for more and more websites to move to https domains. In a recent statement, Google announced that they are now starting to index more https pages and that they will index https pages first before indexing equivalent http pages.

We’re excited about taking another step forward in making the web more secure. By showing users HTTPS pages in our search results, we’re hoping to decrease the risk for users to browse a website over an insecure connection and making themselves vulnerable to content injection attacks. – Google

Many websites of freelance translators and translation companies – including our own – are still hosted on http. With the recent Google announcement in mind and to avoid getting penalised in Google rankings in the future, now is a good time to start planning for a move to https. Gather information about the costs and processes involved in changing your website from an http to an https domain. According to Edlin, it’s important to work closely with your web developer to make sure the switch goes without any hick-ups and that all searches for your current http site are properly redirected to your https site.

2) Beacons: connecting the physical world with the online world

A beacon is a small piece of hardware that can send messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth technology. They are low-cost pieces of kit that are easy to install and offer completely new ways of interacting with people in the physical world. According to Business Insider, “beacons are poised to transform how retailers, event organisers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people”.

For example, shops can use beacons to not only measure the footfall in their shops, but also get a much better picture of who these visitors are (demographics) and how they interact with their products (conversion data). And that’s just one of many use cases. In the USA alone, beacon technology drove $4bn of retail sales in 2015, a figure that’s expected to increase drastically this year.

While so far, beacons relied on an app being installed on a user’s smartphone, 2016 will see major web browsers supporting beacon technology, which will open up a whole new world of possibilities. According to Edlin, a spark is needed to ignite a new location-based marketing method that will allow end users to use online search in a more meaningful way that truly connects the physical with the online world, and beacons are likely to be exactly that spark.

For anyone interested in using beacons in their business, Niddocks will soon be launching Olleno, a brand new specialist resource for the physical web, Eddystone beacons, nearby and proximity marketing – watch this space!

3) Video content: growing at incredible speed

Here is a neat statistic: According to Cisco, by 2017, video will account for 69% of ALL online traffic. The consumption of online video is growing year on year. People are watching videos at home, at work, while they are commuting, while they are eating, and even on the toilet! In the UK alone, 16 million users watch online videos every day. With an annual growth rate of 10%, video is not just a way of providing engaging content marketing for potential and existing customers, video platforms also offer a huge advertising potential to increase sales and drive brand awareness.

As more and more companies start to integrate video into their marketing strategies, the need for translation services specialising in localising video will continue to grow. Expanding your offering to include subtitling and voice over services could be a worthwhile move to create a competitive edge, as could be the partnering with a reliable video production company.

Read this before you start translating

Starting a new translation project and not sure how to prepare and where to begin? Uncertain which tone of voice should be adapted in the target language? Need some tips on essential research and resources for translation projects? Look no further: What, why, who and how – 4 questions you should ask before you start translating.


What does your client do? Do they develop cloud software or create a clothing line? Do they sell beer or manufacture beds? Before you start translating, make sure you familiarise yourself with the product or service your client offers and do your research. Have a look at competitors with a similar target market. How do they present themselves internationally, if at all? If your client has already translated their website or any other documents that are accessible to you, read them and get a feeling for their tone of voice in the target language.


What is your client trying to achieve? Are they launching a new car model abroad or trying to sell eco-friendly nappies to a wider audience? Or maybe they are trying to increase their conversion rates for website visitors in Germany or France (NB People are six times more likely to buy from a website in their mother tongue!!). Find out why your client is translating their website, app or marketing collateral.. If you understand their aim, it’s easier for you to decide which tone of voice (formal/colloquial) or translation style (e.g. creative translation for marketing copy) to adopt.


Who is your client trying to talk to? Find out who your client’s customers are. Are these end consumers (B2C) or business customers (B2B)? Again, this is absolutely essential for tone of voice and for the delivery of an effective translation. Think about the specific target audience. Imagine for example a manufacturer of children’s products: Does their English marketing copy address the children, or the parents who will ultimately buy the product for them? Or maybe it’s a mixture of both? What would be more culturally appropriate in the target language? Discuss any cultural implications before the start of the project. Check out the French website for our client Worlds Apart to see how we’ve translated their children’s products.


How does your client want to come across? This is equally important for tone of voice as it is for translation style. Do they prefer a friendly and conversational style, or a more professional and formal tone of voice? And would their style work in the target language. You should ask your client for any reference materials that will help you craft the right translation with suitable language tools. If the client has a style guide, brand guidelines or a writing guide for English, then ask for it as it will help you to familiarise yourself with their intended style. Do bear in mind that the English language can get away with a lot more “vagueness” when addressing an audience than for example German and French. At the core of any translation into these languages should be the question whether to address the reader formally (Sie/Vous) or informally (Du/Tu). You might need to use the grammatical formal tone because it is more appropriate but you can still make the translation sound light and fun.

Our client Glisten Camping for instance, who offers holidays in eco-friendly dome tents in the South of France, wanted to appeal to their audience in a warm and friendly tone. We used the formal tone for the French website translation because it’s more appropriate when addressing adults but we kept the tone of the translations light-hearted, warm and fun to stay on brand. Check out their French website to get an idea of the tone of voice we’ve used.

For further advise on how to craft effective and beautiful translations check out our post Top 5 copywriting tips for translators.

Hotel website translation: How to grow international traffic and increase conversion rates

As a modern hotel marketing manager, you have a lot of plates to spin. From creative online campaigns to SEO, from refining the keywords of your AdWord campaign to hiring the right photographer that will deliver that perfect snapshot of your new spa, your work is never done. All your efforts are geared toward raising awareness, driving traffic to your website and getting those rooms filled. Is a hotel website translation just one of those things that keeps being pushed down your to-do list?

In Cornwall, domestic tourism accounts for 90% of all tourism, so it’s easy to ignore the 10% that is made up by overseas visitors. Or maybe not? Over recent years, the number of Cornish hotels that are specifically targeting German and French visitors has steadily increased. Why? Because French are the largest foreign visitor group to the Southwest, followed closely by Germans, who are in turn the biggest spenders. So although they may not be as numerous as your British customers, they are certainly the high-value customers you want to be staying at your hotel. Translating your hotel website is an important first step in reaching out to those valuable overseas visitors. Here’s why:


It’s quite simple: Local search engines favour websites in the local language. Most people search the web in their mother tongue, so the chances that your English hotel website will show up in German or French search results is pretty slim. Translating your hotel website drastically increases your international visibility.


Once they’ve found your site, it’s important to show your visitors content that’s interesting and relevant to them. Your conference facilities or your wedding packages might not be all that exciting for overseas holiday makers, but in-depth information about the local history, how to get around, where to find that picture postcard fishing village or where to sample the finest local ale will strike a chord. Go that extra mile and provide original and informative content that will keep them hooked and browsing your site.


When it comes to making that final purchase decision, language can really make the difference. A translated website helps to build trust in your hotel, it shows that you care about your overseas visitors. Did you know for example that people are six times less likely to buy from a website that is not presented in their mother tongue? You really don’t want visitors to drop out of your sales funnel because they don’t fully trust your website or because they simply don’t understand the information in front of them.

Translating your website is not only polite, it makes good business sense from an SEO perspective. Find out more about our website translation services or simply give us a call – we’d love to chat to you about your hotel website.

Website übersetzen leicht gemacht: Mit neuester Technologie

Translation technology: Translating websites and apps the smart way

With the rapid development of internet services and device technologies, the online world is becoming more and more accessible to people around the globe. Country borders no longer pose barriers to international trade and this presents a huge opportunity for businesses to reach more potential customers, not only on their home turf, but abroad as well.

Website translation

Translating websites used to be a rather cumbersome process of manually copying and pasting content into files, sending them back and forth between clients and translators, and then manually pasting the translations into web pages. The amount of man hours spent on manual tasks was enormous.

With new advances in translation technology, this process has been hugely simplified. We are very proud to be working with a cloud-based translation management tool called Smartling which allows companies to easily and quickly translate their websites and apps into other languages. We recommend this revolutionary translation tool to any companies who have websites with large amounts of content or who need to update their website regularly to keep their content fresh – and of course to those companies who quickly want to enter new markets.

App translation

Smartling is also a great tool for app developers. Instead of sending Excel spreadsheets back and forth without any context for the translators – like in the good old says – app developers now can simply upload a file for translation, add useful contextual information to each and every string, provide screenshots for clarification, add character limits and much more.

We have been translating websites and apps with the Smartling tool for over three years and know the platform inside and out – we love it because it really does make everyone’s job so much easier – our customer’s job and our own, too! From e-commerce sites to SAAS platforms, from social media apps to hotel booking sites, we have translated a wide range of websites and apps and can bring heaps of experience to your project.

Do you already have a plan on how to implement your translations from a technical perspective? Have you investigated the different options available?If you would like to find out more about website and app translation and the different technologies available, please get in touch and we would be delighted to discuss this in more detail with you.

To translate or not translate … that is the question

Are you wondering if you should be translating your website and whether it will give you a return on your investment? Here are a few things to consider.


Translating your website into the local language will increase the chances of your website appearing in local search results. Search engines will favour websites in the local language and display them higher up in the results. Also bear in mind that many users will have set their search criteria to their own language, so your English website may not even show up for a large proportion of your local market.


Studies have shown that people are six times less likely to buy from a website that is not presented in their mother tongue – and it makes sense. Would you buy from a website that is only available in, say, Spanish or Japanese? Translating your website into another language helps visitors to stay on your site and move down your sales pipeline all the way to the purchasing step, rather than dropping out half-way because they either don’t fully trust a foreign-language site, or because they simply don’t understand all the information presented to them.

The bigger picture

Before you make a decision, try to look at your ‘localisation effort’ from a holistic point of view. If your website is translated, but your support emails are not, or your external payment gateway is only in English, this may alienate users. Chances are you may not be able to fully localise every single aspect of your customer journey from the start, but you can manage your visitors’ and customers’ expectations, advising them that your customer service or your newsletter is only available in English at this moment in time.

If you would like to find out more about localisation, take a look at our localisation blog post.

Oh how “pinteresting”: Cornish companies help adapt Pinterest for UK market

Pinterest, the image-based social bookmarking and sharing site that’s hailed as the next big thing in the world of social media, has enlisted the help of Cornwall-based Anja Jones Translation (AJT) to adapt their website and mobile apps for the UK market.

“For Pinterest, long-term success depends upon building strong relationships with its users, regardless of the language they speak. It is all about engaging with people, inspiring them, encouraging them to share the things they love and to inspire others”, explains Anja Jones. “Pinterest wanted to show their dedication to the UK market and we were delighted to be recommended for the job.”

AJT partnered up with Stranger Collective for the project, a Penryn-based copy writing agency who are fine-tuned to the nuances between British and American English. “We had already worked with Stranger Collective last year on a multilingual project for Coca-Cola and were really keen to have them on board for this project”, says Anja. “Localising websites and apps is not just about changing a few z’s here and there, it’s looking at the text as a whole and really providing a user experience that feels ‘native’ to UK users.”

All translations were carried out using a platform developed by NY-based technology company Smartling, who, having worked with AJT for over 3 years, were happy to recommend them for such a high profile client.

Over the last few weeks, AJT have also been reviewing and editing Pinterest’s French website and apps which officially re-launched this week.

Cornish Agency Provides Translation Services to World’s Leading Companies


The Cornwall-based translation agency, Anja Jones Translation, has just completed translating the French website of the global interconnection and data centre company, Equinix. The translation project from English into French, is a key part of Equinix’s online marketing strategy in EMEA.

The translation had to be right, the first time, and had to reflect the organisation’s core values, specialism and professionalism.  NYC-based Smartling, creators of the first full-service, cloud-based translation management platform, recommended Anja Jones Translation as the agency that would deliver.

“It wasn’t a straight-forward translation”, commented, Anja Jones, the founder of Anja Jones Translation. “It needed to be localised for the target market and effectively communicate with its intended audience.  It was essential that it read like marketing literature written by native speakers.”

Led by the French project manager, Sarah Steib-Weber, the French team worked on the project for two months, and produced a translation of the highest quality.  “We have a large team of talented and motivated translators, both in French and German, which is key to our offering,” Anja explains. “However, it’s the combination of our translators and the Smartling translation platform, vital for the smooth transition and effective communication with our clients, that ensures the best possible outcome for all our clients.”

Equinix, who operates data centres and provides interconnection and data centre services to some of the world’s largest companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe, Yahoo! and Sony, to name just a few, were delighted with the translation and the French site went live in November.

For more than two years, Anja Jones Translation has worked with Smartling and has become a trusted translation agency for the technology company. .Smartling designed and developed a pioneering translation management platform, which enables translators to collaborate in real-time and eliminates the need for sending files back and forth. “The Smartling platform has revolutionised the way agencies translate and communicate with their clients,” said Mark Elkin, VP of client services, Smartling, Inc. “The traditional translation process is tedious and time-consuming, but our collaborative, cloud-based platform is a new, better way of working that’s proven effective for many clients such as Shell, Orange, GoPro, Vimeo, Spotify and now, of course, Equinix.”