Web Translation Projects/Translation of tourism promotional materials

Aim of the projectEdit

The aim of the project is to provide the reader with the most relevant information as far as translating tourism promotional materials (TPMs) is concerned. The project includes some theoretical considerations including the language of TPMs and strategies used in them. There is also a chapter dedicated to cultural-conceptual approache introduced by Mohamed Zain Sulaiman and Rita Wilson.

Theoretical considerationsEdit

This section provides the reader with the theory that is crucial to be aquainted with in order to produce a valuable translation of a tourism promotional material.

Tourism promotional materials (TPMs)- what are they?Edit

Tourism promotional materials (TPMs) are forms of advertising known as collaterals in the field of marketing and advertising. They are described as the collection of media, such as brochures, leaflets, posters, flyers, postcards and websites used to support the sales of tourism products. These materials, like any advertising materials, can be obtained free of charge. Travel guides and other tourist materials which have the function of objectively informing the reader of the strengths and weaknesses of a given destination, and are therefore usually made available at a price, do not qualify as promotional materials. [1]

The language of tourism promotional materialsEdit

TPMs are aimed to attract customers with a given destination image. To do so, their content must be carefully thought of and appropriately written as to reach the goal which is most often people responding the way the author wants them to respond. Getting the perfect message is the key of success- here we come across the notion of copywriting. Copywriters of tourism-related texts, using carefully chosen words and expressions, create in the mind of potential clients an unforgettable image of a given place. The aim is to persuade the potential client is to choose a given destination, book a given hotel or buy a given holiday. The significance of language in TPMs is undeniable. Because of it, the message may be conveyed and deliver the desired information. The content of the TPMs is intended to inform what the future tourist should expect and what they should plan to see and explore while spending time in their desired destination. [1]

There are three sociological perspectives of tourism, i.e. strangerhood, authenticity and play.

1) Strangerhood perspective stresses that the desire to explore the unknown and strange motivates people to become tourists. It is believed that people search for something that differs from their everyday culture experiences. Even though the whole concept focuses on what is new, unexplored and strange, there is a need among tourists to feel secure and protected by what is known, explored and familiar. We may actually divide tourists (according to the strangerhood perspective) into two groups: those who want to experience the strangerhood being surrounded by what is familiar to them and those who want to dive into the unknown completely.

2) Authenticity perspective claims that people living in the modern world decide to travel to search for the authenticity, which is thought to be found in other cultures, older historical periods and simpler lifestyles. Travelling is seen as an escape from the everyday life to the reality that is more authentic: local cultures, natural landscapes, the past times. According to authenticity perspective, t is perceived as a kind of ‘secular pilgrimage’ where tourists are “‘modern pilgrims”’.

3) Play perspective presents the travel experience as a series of experiences which should allow tourist to immerse in pleasure. This perspective states that travel experiences range from doing whatever one wants, what makes one feel free, to consuming “unnecessary” goods making one satified and pleased. What makes travel experience different from those of everyday life is the mentioned pleasure. Even though play perspective stresses the presence of fun and enjoyment in the travel experience, it is not deprived of the actual structure. It is a ‘socially organised’ experience in which the role of professional experts who construct and develop the play of tourists is crucial.[1] Conducting the further discussion of the language of TPMs, we have to mention the language of differentiation, authentication and recreation.

1) Language of differentiation’s aim is to find the balance between what is known and unknown (strange) for the tourists. It is strictly connected with the strangerhood perspective.

2) Language of authentication stresses the fact that TPMs should enable the reader to feel the authenticity of the place being decribed. The future tourist should feel that he or she is becoming a part of an authentic experience.

3) Language of recreation’s goal is to sell the concept of play no matter where it takes place or what it entails. [1]

Strategies used in tourism promotional materialsEdit

This subsection focuses on the techniques used in tourism promotionals materials. Some og them are based on examples from australia.com website with the polish translation provided by myself.

1) Ego-targeting- this technique aims at addressing the reader directly as to make him/her feel special, singled-out. It is believed that singling out a person from the group or crowd makes a special connection between the promoted destination and the reader. Hence the reader feels that destination being promoted has been chosen specially for him/her, which results in him/her being more likely to become a future tourist. [2] [3] The more individual the dialogue is, the more reader will be likely to accept the offer. Because of the use of "you", "we", "your", "our" pronouns, the reader is tempted to feel that this kind of experience has been made just for him/her. It is important to mention that the language of tourism is often rather informal in order to achieve this conversational style in the text, that is why one may sometimes come across some colloquial expressions. One of the significant features of ego-targeting technique is the use of imperatives (e.g. "try", "jump", "dive", "discover", "swim", etc.).

Example 1
English Polish
”Explore our rivers, reefs and harbours by kayak, take a scenic helicopter flight over an Aussie icon, relax with a hotel spa treatment, indulge in a hatted restaurant or book a sightseeing cruise.” [4] „Odkryj australijskie rzeki, rafy oraz porty pływając kajakiem, wybierz się na malowniczy lot helikopterem nad australijską ikoną, zrelaksuj się w hotelowym spa, zajrzyj do restauracji lub zarezerwuj rejs wycieczkowy”.

Its aim is to challenge the potential tourists to encourage them to participate in certain activities, which are said to enable them to fulfil their wants and needs.

2) Keying- technique which focuses on using the keywords as to put a stress on positive values of a given destination. It is most frequently used in websites, where readers not necessarily read the descriptions but rather flick through or scan them, looking for the information they find essential. Therefore, it is important to develop a strategy of placing the words in the right places. The very first thing the readers notice is the keyword:

Example 2
English Polish

3) Exoticising- technique in which the author provides the reader with foreign vocabulary that he/she has little or even no knowledge about. The goal of such linguistic operation is to make the target text look more exotic and therefore the destination more appealing and attractive.

Example 3
English Polish
”At the far end of the beach, take the 800-metre (0.5-mile) walking trail […] for panoramic views over Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park” [4] "Na samym końcu plaży wybierz się na 800-metrowy (0,5-milowy) szlak, aby ujrzeć piękne widoki na Park Narodowy Ku-ring-gai Chase"

4) Comparing- comparing technique focuses on the use of simile and metaphor as to make the destination seem more familiar to the reader. It is important to mention that comparing is aimed to reduce strangeness and bring familiarity while describing places believed to be unknown to the potential tourist reading a TPM. One of the biggest advantages of comparing technique is the ability to turn an unfamiliar place into a desirable and more acquainted destination.

5)Contrasting - presenting a contrast between the reader’s ordinary life and the promoted destination is also a common technique used in TPMs. Its obvious aim is to persuade the reader to desire a given destination even more. Hence, we may find contrast in vocabulary like ‘old’ and ‘new’, ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘special’.

Example 4
English Polish
”Discover the Australian Capital Territory, where blissful nature sits alongside buzzy urban neighbourhoods, and modern eateries meet captivating history” [4] "Odkryj Australijskie Terytorium Stołeczne, gdzie błoga przyroda sąsiaduje z gwarnymi dzielnicami miejskimi, a nowoczesne restauracje spotykają się z urzekającą historią"

6) Poetic devices – In TPMs most often they are: alliteration, assonance and consonance. Their presence in the TPMs makes the texts more fun to read and therefore the descriptions stay in the readers’ minds as it is aimed.

7) Humour – even though humour is not an inherent element of every TMP, it is possible that the author will decide to enrich the text with some humour to make it more attractive to the reader. Word puns seem to be popular in TPMs. A potential tourist reading such texts with humorous content may automatically connect the described destination with fun and joy. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that humour is also culture-dependent: it is important not to offend any culture, race or faith.

Cultural-conceptual approachEdit

Mohamed Zain Sulaiman (Senior Lecturer of Translation Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan in Malaysia) and Rita Wilson (professor in Translation Studies at Monash University ) in order to deal with TPMs translation, introduced Cultural-Conceptual Translation Model (CCT model). The CCT model claims that while dealing with translation of tourism promotional materials (TPM), one should mainly focus on the culture itself, as to be able to present a translation which then will reach the reader in a desirable way.

Cultural-conceptual translation modelEdit

Cultural-conceptual translation model is based on two significant macro-level factors: 1. translation purpose and 2. cultural conceptualisation.

As far as translating TPMs is concerned, translation purpose is directly connected with the notion of destination image, while cultural conceptualisation would be the means by which the translation purpose is achieved. The purpose of translating TPMs is to convert a reader into a future tourist. The effectiveness of translation, according to the CCT model, depends on the presentation of the destination image that translator builds in the reader’s mind. Destination image everything that a person associates a given place with: feelings, expectations, emotions, etc. To build a likeable image, the translator uses “pull-factors” of the destination which are aimed to attract people to visit. These would be its most known places, best rated attractions, an extraordinary location, etc.

One should not forget about the fact that destination images are determined differently depending on the country or culture, where it is perceived in various ways what makes a destination image appealing. Any successful tourist-aimed campaign combines previously-mentioned “pull-factors” with “push-factors”, which are the tourists’ needs and wants. In order to produce a successful tourism-related translation, translators have to bear in mind that the destination image they create must go together with the “push-factors” just referred to.

The tourists’ needs and wants are undeniably influenced by the fundamental values of their culture. Conceptualizing reality and constructing meaning according to historically determined practices by different cultures is called “cultural conceptualisation”[5]. It is said to be the product of members of a group interacting with each other, while the mentioned interaction is the very base of the construction of meanings. For example, when in most of the western cultures the colour white is associated with innocence and purity, in Asia it is perceived as the colour of death and mourning. Despite the fact that cultural conceptualisations occur within members of a social group, they do not have to be in the same way present in its members’ minds.

Translators, while implementing the CCT model in their work, should be interculturally-oriented. Their task is to convert future readers into tourists, which requires the knowledge about the tourism conceptualisation in a given culture. It is often noticed that translation practitioners tend to focus on the words of the source text rather than on the idea of presenting the destination image in the target text the best way possible.

Recommended readingEdit

Al-Hassan, A. 2013. The importance of culture in translation: should culture be translated? Petra University English Department. Amman, Jordan.

Dann, G. 1996. The language of tourism. A sociolinguistic perspective. Wallingford: CAB International.

Kelly, D. 1998. The translation of texts from the tourist sector: Textual conventions, cultural distance and other constraints.

Smith, S.L.J. 1988. Defining tourism: a supply-side view. Annals of Tourism Research.

Sulaiman, M. Zain 2018. Applying the Cultural-Conceptual Translation Model in the Commercial World of Tourism Promotion. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Sulaiman, M. Zain & Wilson, Rita. 2019. Translation and tourism. Strategies for effective cross-cultural promotion. Singapore. Spinger.

V.N. Komissarov. 1991. Language and culture in translation: competitors or collaborators? Languages and Cultures in Translation Theories.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sulaiman, M. Zain & Wilson, Rita. 2019. Translation and tourism. Strategies for effective cross-cultural promotion. Singapore. Spinger.
  2. (Dann, 1996) The language of tourism. A sociolinguistic perspective.
  3. Cappelli, G. (2006). Sun, sea, sex and the unspoilt countryside: How the English language makes tourists out of readers. Pari: Pari Publishing
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 https://www.australia.com/en
  5. https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/cultural-conceptualizations/65518