Three localisation mistakes online travel brands should avoid
From booking portals, through travel fare aggregator websites to metasearch engines – nearly all kinds of travel brands aim to go global and reach out to new visitors and customers. One way to do it is by localising, i.e. translating and adapting your website and social media profiles to the target market. As straightforward and uncomplicated as this process may seem, there are many pitfalls that can make your efforts counterproductive. So, before you embark on the localisation journey and start adjusting your travel portal to the culture of your target customers, consider these three traps and learn how to avoid them:
1. Using crowd translation or machine translation
Crowd translation and machine translation are new fads that offer quick and low-cost ways to achieve some results. If you really aim to have your website translated and adjusted to the needs of global travellers, texts of mediocre quality won’t be enough to promote your brand abroad and gain trust of your potential customers. Surely, you wouldn’t publish sloppy slogans, awkward descriptions or grammatically incorrect call-to-actions on your original website, so why do it on the translated and localised version? Do your international visitors deserve less respect and less attention than the visitors from your home country? A website is one of the biggest assets for an online travel brand – it’s your front desk, your showcase, your key to success. That’s why you need to work with a professional and qualified team that will make your website shine and glow, in every single language.
2. Skipping localisation tests
Localisation can take quite a lot of time, especially if you want your brand to be present in as many countries as possible. Don’t speed it up or reduce costs by avoiding the testing phase. Once your travel website is localised, make sure you run at least two rounds of localisation tests, both functional and linguistic. This is where many bugs can be reported and fixed to ensure better user experience. Common mistakes include broken links, overlapping strings, cut-off text, problems with font or special characters or language mistakes. Too many functional or linguistic issues may distract your visitors from the actual content and weaken their interest in your travel brand. And from there the way to another travel service provider is very short.
An example of poor localisation into Polish: from grammar and punctuation mistakes to issues with style and slogan adaptation. It seems that this popular hotel search engine either didn’t invest in the review of translated and localised content or choose to use machine or crowd translation.
3. Focusing on language only
Many travel brands tend to forget that making their website global doesn’t stop at translating the texts only. Think about images, icons and other layout items. Maybe your target travellers in another country would be attracted to different photos, maybe they want to see something more than just beautiful landscapes and white-sand beaches? What about the pictures presenting people? Would your target visitors relate to them? In some cases, you’ll have to tweak your travel portal, add or delete some items to make the website more relevant to your target users. So, don’t stop at the language level only and make sure that other ingredients of your website appeal to the adventurous spirit of your target customers, no matter where they live.
What other steps do you think you can take to ensure that your online travel brand will attract more international visitors?
Photo by D. Pawlak
About the author: Dorota Pawlak
Dorota helps businesses, organisations and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is an entrepreneur and a qualified translator specialising in IT and localisation of websites, games and software.