Our team recently had the opportunity to speak at the annual Simpleview Summit in Tucson, Arizona, an event that brings together Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) to discuss strategies for creating compelling content to attract global travellers to their destination.
Many attendees mentioned a struggle to create and manage multilingual content on their websites. Unlike other entities in the travel sector, DMO’s are often working with a set budget provided by a government that has a limited stake in revenue generated by the content. This is compounded by the high volume of content that DMO’s create to highlight key attractions, events, and details about a given destination.
At TransPerfect, we are constantly looking for opportunities to apply our services and technology to specific language problems in the travel and hospitality industry. If you’re a DMO feeling overwhelmed with the task of launching multilingual content online, be sure to incorporate these four tips in your content strategy.
1. Identify Opportunities from Real Data
To maximize multilingual content on a limited budget, start with your site analytics and WTTC/TIA statistics on inbound traffic from key current or prospective markets. With that information, identify 2-3 significant potential markets for destination that are not currently being provided localized content.
2. Create Bespoke Content
From this data, identify which pieces of content are particularly of interest from users in specific language markets and create customized content for them. This content can be designed around strategic, competitive keywords researched for SEO. Our editorial teams can take this content and help you craft topics for blogs, articles, whitepapers, infographics, and other mediums. An appropriate editorial calendar can then be devised to plan when the content will be published and in what forms it can effectively be promoted. All created content should be optimized for SEO to ensure search visibility.
3. Maximize Limited Budgets with Targeted Content and Machine Translation (MT)
How can you reduce the costs of localizing large volumes of content? The solution is data-driven: consider translating only parts of the site into only the specific language(s) indicated by your web analytics tools. You can additionally analyze traffic by your transactional data. Though your primary objective is typically to promote tourism, you may be earning revenue through affiliate marketing that can be reinvested into your digital initiatives. Focusing on pages that drive revenue will maximize ROI and help you fund more content.
You also have several options to reduce costs in localization itself, such as applying MT technology to different types of content. You’ve probably already unknowingly read content translated by machines as part of a larger workflow. Many companies, like brand- and style-sensitive luxury travel companies, use MT in their translation processes.
4. SEO, Google, and Trained Machine Translation
At Simpleview, we spoke to many DMO’s that already are or have been considering using the Google Website Translator (GWT). It’s an extremely inexpensive–in fact, free–way of translating your website, that is, if you can look past the serious quality/comprehensibility issues and un-translated content of certain assets, like images.
We don´t mean to pick on Google. But GWT is what we call “raw MT” in the localization industry. Essentially, you are using a generic MT that has not been trained for your company or industry. Besides painful grammatical and contextual issues, the system might directly translate your company, brand, or product. This could be detrimental for names such as Choice, Radisson Red, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Southwest, etc.
If you have secondary content where providing information at a lower cost is more important than having a particular style and tone, a trained MT may be your answer and the manual post-editing I mentioned earlier can be foregone. By using a trained, customized, travel-specific MT with bespoke glossaries, you will see considerably better quality than raw MT. Plus, this comes at a lower price than both human translation and a combination of MT and human post-editing.
Need another reason why Google Website Translator is a poor solution?
Google automatically excludes content translated by their plug-in from being indexed for SEO. Essentially, the plugin´s usefulness is limited to being a fairly convenient tool for people that are already on your site.
By not chaining yourself to GWT, you’re also freeing up the potential for quick SEO wins by enabling edits to your pages’ titles, meta content, and other on-page features. This gives you more control of keyword visibility and the tone of the text, which in turn augments visibility in search results.