By Laura Casanellas Luri
The annual Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) Conference recently took place in Sevilla, Spain. During the conference, the city was preparing for the Easter festivities and the Feria de Abril (Spring Fair). Sevilla was the perfect inspiring location to be in during this GALA conference.
This year’s theme was Embrace Change, Simplify Solutions, two clear constant needs in the business of localization and as we know well at Welocalize. As innovation and technology advances, a diverse range of possibilities opens up in front of our eyes. Technology is now at our fingertips and localization buyers are becoming aware of it. As one delegate said at the conference, “it is a catching-up game.”
My presentation, Localizing for Travel: Diverse Solutions for Diverse Needs, was part of the Travel and Hospitality track at this years’ GALA conference. My presentation addressed questions generated by the motto of the conference, the localization industry is evolving at an ever increasing pace and the solutions offered to our clients need to change and adapt. Localization has become a moving target and it looks as if it is going to remain like this for a while.
Buyers of the localization industry are beginning to open up to the idea of translating new content that in the past would have never been made available in other languages due to cost restrictions.
The idea of quality is also being questioned by buyers. What is Quality? Is Quality requesting translations of the highest standards for all available content? Or is quality reaching end customers and adapting the linguistic levels of the translated target to the needs of the demands of the client?
What do these end clients want? Do they want limited amount of content translated into their own languages or do they prefer to avail of all potential content related to the subject at hand delivered into their own language? Do they care about “end quality?” Or are they more interested in getting readable and understandable content that will help them make their decisions without caring too much about linguistic accuracy and whether the standards of the language are high, medium or low based on impact?
With the introduction of disruptors like the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) and other sites like Airbnb, the expectations within the travel industry are evolving fast. In one hand, there is a need for highly polished, beautifully written content that requires transcreation. On the other and, there are also support pages, user interfaces, knowledge bases and, very importantly, UGC (user- generated content) that needs to be translated. These content types suit different localization models.
The travel industry is vast and the solutions offered by the localization providers need to match all its requirements: from transcreation to translation, machine translation (MT) with full post-editing, MT with light post-editing, raw MT and even crowdsourcing.
The list does not end there. As the requirements widen, there is a need for research and localization of local names and destinations, for designing solutions to suit all sorts of workflows; from the most sophisticated to the manual. This all requires a new breed of “localizers.” The role of a traditional translator might not fit the bill. The person who specializes in translating travel content needs to be able to work with technology like SEO, research tools, language automation and others. They need to be able to wear many hats, with diverse skills and expertise.
Localization providers, like Welocalize, must keep up with technology advances and, very importantly, need to understand the needs of the localization buyer – something that was mentioned often during the different discussions and sessions within the travel track. Global localization service providers must do a lot of listening to offer targeted services and solutions and proactively leading with suggestions.
There are different levels of localization maturity within an industry like travel and all of them need expertise. While some of the big travel and hospitality companies will have their own localization department and a high level of maturity in relation to localization. For the medium to smaller size companies, localization is just another task in the long list of responsibilities somebody working within them needs to address. As I showcased in my presentation, at Welocalize we have a lot of experience within the travel sector and we cater for all levels of maturity.
If you need more information about our offerings for the travel industry or anything related to language tools and technology, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Casanellas Luri is Senior Manager, Program Support, Language Tools at Welocalize
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