Tourists taking a picture of the Joconde
Tourists taking a picture of the Joconde

In an increasingly global world, we are all well aware that communicating effectively has become crucial. Information must be easily accessible at all times, to everyone, from everywhere, and on any device.

Do you think that this is too much to ask? Actually, it’s not. In fact, from this point of view, the Internet has made a vital contribution by connecting users around the world through a single, global network. However, despite the evolution of technology, it is true that linguistic diversity is still an element that limits the free exchange of information. The two main strategies used on the Web to deal with these differences are, on the one hand, the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and, on the other, the translation of the digital content into the language of the final user. It is at this point that website localization enters the picture.

In the tourism sector, the meaningful presence of the user on the Web finally results in a kind of alienation of the tourist who acquires a certain independence and seeks increasingly direct interaction with the tourist company or operator. This means that the user looks less and less for travel agencies as well as for a print medium edited by the tourist office. Indeed, we are witnessing a real evolution of traditional tourism towards what we call Tourism 2.0. This is a new generation that has adopted the most revolutionary means of communication on the World Wide Web.

In the tourism field, language proves to be essential, as it is the main tool for marketing and self-promotion. Though the end user is persuaded to prefer one product over another. It is on  the  Web that translation, which  was already  important to printed tourism communication, became even more fundamental for tourism advertising. A popular trend is to use English for web-based tourism communications, as can be seen on most websites in this field. Tourism agencies often provide a single localized English version of their site,  for the consumption of those who are not native speakers of the original source language.

Therefore, for those working in the field of website localization, it is essential to know the rules of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and usability. This is true, since search engines are always evolving, and frequently change their search algorithms. For this reason, we are nowadays seeing a growing interest in SEO and usability, which is a worthy challenge for both webmasters and those in less technical fields. It is up to the localizer to know how to integrate the specific parameters, on which these two disciplines are based, into his/her workflow.


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