Mr. Alonso

Technology: Outsourcing

Translation Services in Hospitality

Defining Trans-Creation

By Jorge Alonso, Co-Founder & CEO, Flix Translations Group

Hiring a translation company involves consideration and implementation of a long-term translation strategy. The strategy must be set with 3 key variables in mind: content, time and budget. According to the type of content and use, the most adequate workflows and services are defined. Based on the deadline, the number of professionals, the tools and quality assurance required are set.

Tools must be used to streamline management and optimize budget. With translation memories, previously translated content is detected, which can be applied to the new translation. Translation memories will eventually reduce up to 36% of translation costs. Glossaries and style guides provide a unified brand message, ensuring quality and consistency of the message.

What is Trans-Creation?

With markets being more connected than ever and international consumers more accessible via the internet, mobile platforms, and such, the need for communication written to ensure that all messages are conveyed as intended to a target market is a vital component in today's industries. The level of demand and competition in all markets should entice companies to take their translation process a step further with trans-creation - a term that encompasses taking a concept and message in one language and strategically recreating it in another in order to resonate with the intended audience.

While it is clear that branding, communications, and messaging are an essential marketing tool that enables hotel properties to transmit their vision, values and mission to their current and prospect consumers, it is also imperative that these key messages are not lost in translation before they arrive to their targeted market(s). A translation company isn't about simple translations; it offers services that speak specifically to each market with tone and wording that successfully conveys an idea. Though all industries require proper communication across a myriad of markets, the nature of hospitality and its organic need to reach consumers from various markets makes trans-creation a concept that must be applied when pursuing effectiveness. Recent studies in the subject show that 72% of the population prefers to obtain information in their language; with this in mind; it is essential for hospitality executives to improve the overall experience of the tourist through a personalized treatment in their language.

Quality translation involves knowing the context and cultural background from which the words in the original text came, and consequently choosing words or phrases in the new desired language that will best convey the substance and meaning of the original in a new context. Unless this process takes place, strategies that brands so arduously work to create may get misinterpreted or even lost along the way; here is where trans-creation must come into play to ensure the messages that reach key markets are not simply changed words in one language into their equivalents in another. It is very difficult to communicate with people who speak different languages and, within a given language, different regionalisms with one single message. Unifying the message may result in confusion, misconception and even offense; therefore it is important to understand colloquial distinctions and give messages a local flavor.

In order to understand a brand and its corporate objectives seamlessly, proper trans-creation companies work side-by-side with their clients in order to have a grasp on each client's intended message and target audience. When hotels take this integral step in the marketing process, it is necessary to always tell their translation provider what the aim of the text is, who the reader will be and the location of the target audience as this enables the professional translator to prepare a foreign-language version that best suits the target audience and the type of communication. Regardless of the text placement - whether a brochure, website, reservation emails, booking details, hotel content, loyalty program content, etc., trans-creation will influence the style of translation needed. Any supporting information about a client's product and service or promotional support and information about their target customers can be very helpful to the translation team in trans-creating content clearly and effectively. For hotel marketing teams, some key components while trying to reach their international markets include:

Interpreting Brand Meaning and "Internationalizing" Your Brand's Value

Introducing every aspect of a brand's values and mission equally to all the countries it markets to is often an erroneous approach; each country's culture is important when determining the meaning and messages that brands share. Be flexible when establishing the brand's values depending on the country you want to reach, without losing the brand's essence. For instance, the use of certain colors or images as well as certain phrases or words, may prove to be offensive within a specific culture and this when localization becomes a key player in the process of trans-creation at a global level. Localization is a concept that acknowledges the cultural differences of the target country. It is not just about translating communication pieces, product information or marketing materials, It is about adapting the target language to the local market in which the hotel or resort intends to market to - this will be the starting point to garner interest from prospect guests that feel are being understood and catered in ways they expect.

A fitting example that best explain the adaptation of localization is when you travel abroad and find products you are familiar with but with different names, this has to do with the different connotations certain words or phrases have depending on the country; recently, AirBnB faced this issue when trying to figure out its brand name in China. Checking definitions or cultural connotations of a product's name before launching in any country should be a mandatory initial approach in branding.

Localizing Apps

While embracing today's ever-connected world, it is indispensable to understand, face and address globalizing marketing efforts. The mobile application marketplace is booming - by end of 2017 Portio Research estimates the number of mobile users will grow to 4.4 billion, half of whom will come from Asia. These numbers are staggering, and speak to the vast necessity for localizing apps. Developers understand this need; in a survey of 274 developers conducted at Microsoft BUILD, an annual conference where Microsoft showcases its latest products for software and web developers, more than three-quarters of respondents indicated they are planning on globalizing their apps. However, more than a third of the same group expressed concerns about the cost of maintaining apps in multiple languages and the time required to localize them; these are valid concerns, but localization does not need to be an intimidating process. With the right strategies and partners, developers can minimize the time and complexity of app localization and make the entire process organic and manageable.

To make localization as seamless as possible, developers should design, code, and test their apps with a global, language agnostic approach. It is easy for developers to slip into comfortable assumptions that their target users understand their native language; instead, they should consider their native language as yet another language that end users can select from a catalog. Additionally, marketers ought to thoroughly strategize and analyze who their target audience is to identify its cultural requirements, including languages taking into account that many markets and countries have more than one preferred and recognized language, whether official or not. Building a list of the languages available and supported by an app will affect many user interface and software design decisions further down the line and the later these decisions are made, the more costly they will be.

The app's design needs to address each target language's characteristics; for example, German words tend to be longer than English ones; Arabic script is written and read from both directions; most Asian languages have tone marks and diacritics above and below characters; Thai does not separate words with spaces. Accounting for the unique characteristics of each language may sound daunting, but thankfully, there are many resources and guidelines available to help developers navigate these nuances. These resources help with, for instance, selecting a default display font that supports the most common languages and minimize the risk of truncation - missing parts of characters/words because they do not fit in an allotted space that was built with a specific language in mind.

Thinking globally as part of the core app development process is essential to capturing a market's interest and ensuring customer satisfaction with an app that is ready-to-use in their language from its launch.

Real-Time Communication

Operating globally implies having in mind different time zones, communication channels and a fast response ratio. In times where response rates and 24/7 availability are highly valued, it is extremely necessary to have technological and human support (through mobile apps, sales teams in different areas around the globe and immediate response capacity) to satisfy client demands.

Jorge Alonso is co-founder and CEO at Flix Translations Group, a boutique translation service provider based in the USA and Argentina, which serves clients worldwide. He founded the company in 2011 together with Gabriela Arriaran and, since then, have consolidated in the translation industry, with a solid network of over 1,500 linguists and professionals around the world. His experience in the hotel industry and in market research, together with his solid education in business administration, have provided him with the necessary tools to be able to detect business opportunities and focus on solutions for every client. Mr. Alonso can be contacted at 305 -760-4751 or alonso@flixtranslations.com Please visit http://flixtranslationsgroup.com for more information. Extended Bio...

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