The online translation agency One Hour Translation (OHT) revealed in a study that the world’s leading online tourism companies work extremely hard to expand their offerings to emerging markets in the former Soviet bloc, as well as Middle Eastern and East Asian countries.
Specialized in translation for various fields of business - including law, technology, marketing, website translation, applications, software and more - OHT makes use of hybrid translation. That way, the company manages to serve more than 60% of the Fortune 500 companies today.
“One of the tools that make it easy for One Hour Translation to effectively translate huge quantities of content is hybrid translation, which combines NMT (Neural Machine Translation) with the work of human editors and testers. Hybrid translation lowers traditional translation costs by 50 percent without compromising quality”, Yaron Kaufman, VP of marketing at One Hour Translation, explains.
The websites OHT examined in its recent study have been Booking.com, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Hotels.com, Kayak, Agoda, SkyScanner, Trivago, Couchsurfing, and Accor Hotels, bringing to light the following insights: Booking.com is the company making the most efforts to localize their sites in additional languages; followed by Agoda; Hotels.com; and Trivago.
The most popular languages appearing on each of the 10 sites surveyed are English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Mandarin, OHT found out.
Price comparisons? In any language
OHT’s study clearly indicates that websites directing the most efforts to localizing their content in other languages than English to increase their sales volume and international distribution, are mainly comparison sites (for flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.), where 9 out of 10 of the websites have localized their sites in at least 18 languages.
- Booking.com is here again topping all others in localizing its website in additional languages. The hotel price comparison and booking site operates websites in 40 different languages around the world, as well as three localized sites in British English, Argentinian Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
- The Singaporean hotel price comparison company, Agoda, is in second place, which operates websites in 36 different languages, with another site in Brazilian Portuguese.
- Hotels.com is in third place with sites in 34 different languages, and Trivago is not far behind, in fourth place, with 32 different languages. The first four places are all occupied by companies focusing on price comparisons and hotel room bookings.
- The price comparison company SkyScanner is in fifth place, followed in sixth place by Trip Advisor, which operates a site focusing on tourism reviews and tourism surveys. Both companies have sites in 28 languages. In addition, SkyScanner also operates three sites in localized British English, Argentinian Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
- In seventh place is Kayak, the vacation price comparison site, with 22 different languages.
- Expedia is in eighth place, and the hotel chain Accor Hotels is in ninth place, both with sites in 18 languages.
- In tenth place we have Couchsurfing, which enables locals to host tourists at home, with sites in 9 different languages.
The popular markets? Western Europe, North America and the Far East
The survey performed by One Hour Translation also reveals that the most popular languages on each of the 10 sites surveyed are English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Mandarin.
Languages in second place, with nine translated sites, are Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Indonesian, Korean and Thai. Turkish, Traditional Chinese, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish appear on eight websites.
Seven sites are localized in Vietnamese and Greek, six are localized in Czech, Hungarian, Arabic and Hebrew, five sites are translated into Ukrainian and Malay, four into Romanian, Croatian and Slovak, three into Catalan, Bulgarian, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Slovenian and Serbian, and only two are translated into Filipino and Icelandic.
Globalization as a tourism market driver
Yaron Kaufman, VP of marketing at One Hour Translation, explains: “Our test data shows that the popular sites are noticeably present in the developed markets of Western Europe, North America and East Asia. However, digital tourism giants are identifying growth engines and are beginning to show their presence in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet bloc countries, along with East Asia and the Middle East. According to our estimation, this phenomenon will only increase.”
Kaufman continued: "We are in the midst of a technological and economic era that enables the development of a strong middle class in countries that until 20-30 years ago did not constitute a leading economic or political force, and on the other hand, it enables companies to lower prices for the individual consumer with the help of technological innovations in the aviation and tourism markets.
For business in general, and tourism entities respectively, that are all constantly searching for any way to improve their revenues, localization can increase the market volume and support the expansion into other territories. It all can be achieved with a modest financial investment that has clear advantages, OHT concludes, hoping this trend will spread.