The 5-star way to translating online customer reviews for your hotels

man holding passports and boarding passThere’s no doubt online hotel guest reviews have a considerable impact on how consumers decide where to stay for an upcoming getaway. Whether good or bad, customer reviews are vital to hotels as they confer a sense of customer service, overall experience and brand reputation.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor found more than half (53 percent) of respondents said they will not book a hotel that does not have any customer reviews on the hotel’s website. Even more telling, a whopping 87 percent of respondents stated that the reviews help them feel more confident in their decision to book.

Online reviews are undoubtedly a valuable tool for consumers, but what happens when you’ve got a website localized into multiple languages and your rave reviews are only available in one of those languages?

If they can’t read it, it’s as good as having no reviews

While your website may be localized into multiple languages already, translating online customer reviews might be another story. If you have glowing reviews about your beautiful hotel property, the excellent customer service and the delicious food served pool-side—this well-deserved praise will go unnoticed by your global audiences if they cannot understand the language the reviewer wrote in. The lack of translated reviews could possibly drive them to a competitor who has reviews available in the desired language.

World-class hotel, second-rate translation

You’ve got options for translating online customer reviews, but not all options are created equal.

Some hotels and travel companies have incorporated a free online translation tool into their website, such as Google Translate, to allow website visitors to translate the guest reviews into the desired language. While this may seem sufficient, it does present a potential risk of inaccurate translation that could totally distort the meaning of the review and leave it ineffective. Or worse yet, the translated review could come off as negative when it was actually positive. Because of the unique nuances of each language, not all words translate exactly the same or carry the same meaning in two languages—making literal translations messy. Therefore, a simplistic machine translation solution such as this can severely hinder the quality of your reviews if you do not have a qualified linguist proofread the translated review first to make corrections and ensure the original message carries through to the new language.

But consider this: if you wouldn’t dream of using a free translation tool to localize your entire website, why would you use it for translating customer commentary that can be the deciding factor in booking with your property?

Make many languages equal many bookings

Translating online customer reviews should receive the same level of attention as the rest of the localized content on your website.

A better option to ensure your reviews are still effective when translated is a fully trained machine translation service with post editing performed by professional linguists. While this route does require an investment, the return is expanded opportunity to bring new bookings into the door. Advanced machine translation still provides near-real-time translation so you can put your rave reviews to work for you in multiple languages almost immediately. The difference is that advanced machine translation is significantly more effective than a free translation tool, because it can be trained for your specific content needs and continually fine-tuned to produce a higher level of quality output.

Having a professional linguist review the machine-translated content adds an additional level of quality control. The linguist will review the content and correct any errors or inconsistencies to ensure that the customer review reads well and conveys the same meaning in the new language.

By combining advanced machine translation with human post editing, the end results can equal a quality level that rivals translations performed exclusively by a live person—while decreasing turnaround time and costs.

The all-inclusive advantage

Building and training an advanced machine translation engine takes a lot of input. At Indopak, we’ve already done a lot of the legwork so you don’t have to start from scratch. We have built foundation engines that are trained using travel-specific terminology which can be paired with your company’s content to create a robust database of travel-centric content that is customized for your needs.

Let us be your bellhop and escort you to online guest review translation success. Check out our website for more information or send us an email anytime. We’re here to chat!

Want to learn more about the benefits of machine translation? Check out the following articles:

  • Are you fit for machine translation?
  • Successful machine translation: A peek inside the training process
  • Machine translation: Will it work for your organization?

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