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Translating your tourism website in other languages – is it worth it?

13 Mar Posted by in Blog, Content Marketing, SEO | Comments
Translating your tourism website in other languages – is it worth it?

Over the years you may have wondered if translating one page or your whole website into another language is an exercise that will increase your bookings. Is it really worth it? This article reviews the key options available to tourism businesses and provides pros and cons.

It is important to understand that there is a big difference between a simple “on the fly” translation function on your website (such as Google Translate) vs. a multilingual website which has been structured and written to support different languages and stand-alone monolingual websites.

The multilingual functionality and optimisation is a topic that can be approached a number of ways depending on your goals and strategy. You will need to assess your marketing strategy and budget constraints before committing to the best approach for your business.

So, what are your options?

Option 1: On the fly with Google Translate

Google translate is a service that allows visitors on your website to select their preferred language to read your content. It is an “on the fly service” where your content is instantly translated. This also means that your content is not written (nor indexed in the search engines memory) in the language that Google will translate the website in.

Advantages: Free to install, quick fix solution with translations in 58 languages.

Downsides: Not always accurate translation, doesn’t get picked up by search engines, doesn’t help your site to be found in other countries in the selected language.

Suitable for: Quick fix, low budget. This is a great temporary solution while you are determining what target markets you would like to focus on and optimise your website for.

Other options: Apart from Google Translate there are other “on the fly systems”. Here is a list of WordPress friendly options:

Option 2: Multilingual site with translated and optimised pages within your website

This signifies that one or every page of your website will be translated into one or more foreign language of your choice (depending on the requirements of your target market). You may however not need to translate every page in each language. You may even decide not to have an English version of a page but only a Chinese version from instance.

Each translated page should be written with the following in mind:

  • display content specific to the particular products and services you want the target market to view
  • provide information about your company
  • have a contact form
  • links to social media (to provide more visual information/experiences)
  • offer testimonial from someone of the target market
  • and MOST IMPORTANTLY, be translated by a professional so it is written correctly.

Advantage: You can target a specific market that you have made feel special by dedicating a webpage or more to their language. Your page will also be indexed by search engines for this language and will have the chance to rank on search engines for searches in the language.
This is a cost-effective option to integrate with your website, with the majority of the cost in getting the formal translation of your selected content (budget for approximately 8c per word) and adding a new page to your website. If you have a content management system like WordPress you will be able to add this page yourself and even commission the translation overnight!

Downside: The translation won’t just be word for word but you will need to include the requirements of that specific target market within the content (for instance, how do Chinese visitors buy?). Since there is a translation cost involved you may not afford to translate all your blog posts. However most travellers will be “buying with their eyes” so don’t discount the power of your images, even when text is misunderstood.

Suitable for: Businesses that know their target markets, want to appear in search engines in their international markets.

Option 3: Dedicated websites per target market

This is a separate, standalone monolingual website that sits independently from your English website. This can be a direct translation of your site and will NOT be considered duplicate content by search engines.

To use the example of targeting the Chinese market again, you may purchase and have your full website translated and hosted under this domain.
Make sure you are cross linking any of your additional websites so if a visitor wants to view the English (or German, Spanish..) version they can easily find it.

Advantages: The whole website can be 100% tailored to the needs of your foreign target market. You will also have better search rankings as you have a dedicated URL and multiple pages of content to be crawled by search engines.

Downsides: Additional costs of building a new website as well as hosting, maintaining and translating more than one website.

Suitable for: Businesses generating a large portion of their revenue from an international market and want to fully leverage these target markets.

Which one is the best?

So which one should you choose?

  • If you want to offer your visitors an approximate translation of your website and don’t have any budget then Option 1 is where you want to start
  • If ranking on search engines overseas is part of your marketing strategy then you need to start at Option 2 and could consider Option 3.

Always remember to check your Google Analytics statistics to see which one of your target market may most benefit from a translation. Here is a Google Analytics report showing the average time on site based on the country of origin of the visitors. You can see for instance that the Swiss visitors may benefit from having pages translated in French/German/Italian (Switzerland has got 4 national languages) as they are currently sitting at 64% below the average time on site… Could it be because they don’t understand English or is it because the offer isn’t targeted to them?


And which option does recommend?

Our Smart Tourism Website supports option 2: multiple languages within the single website. The multilingual add-on is packed with powerful language management and translation features such as:

  • Easily way to translate pages side by side
  • Affordable professional translation built in
  • Assign translation jobs right from within your website
  • Translation for visitor comments
If you are looking for a website that meets the needs of your travellers have a look at our Smart Tourism Website information site.

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