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Tourism Translation—Why Going Local Is a Good Idea

Welcome MatI come from a town where tourism puts food on most tables. The population is small but summers are crowded with tourists from around the world who come to taste the local lobster and snap pictures of the pretty painted houses.

The tourism industry is an amazing balancing act of reaching out on an international scale, all the while sounding local, like you’re from there, like you know who dishes up the best fish cakes, and where to go to spot whales.

As a translator who specializes in tourism, I was excited to attend Montreal’s International Tourism & Travel Show. It was wonderful to see some of our regular clients face to face and to meet new people in the industry. I was especially happy to see that tourism professionals recognize the importance of working with local translators.

A translator who knows the local reality can connect with your audience. A local translator understands Quebec’s distinct sense of humour, unique expressions, and cultural references and can help you break into the Quebec market. A local translator understands what’s special about Quebec and can help a Quebec business attract visitors from the rest of Canada, the US, and the world.

Take poutine. If you’re trying to sell this delicious dish to out-of-towners, you might want to define it—fries topped with fresh cheese curds and smothered in hot gravy. Of course, if you’re talking to locals, you’d sound pretty foolish telling them what their own delicacy is.

Translation works the same way. Speak to your audience. Use a local translator.

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