Tourism, translation and advertising

Authored by: Elizabeth Woodward-Smith

The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Translation Studies

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138698017
eBook ISBN: 9781315520131
Adobe ISBN:


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According to UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), tourism comprises “the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”. The term also refers to the industry providing passenger transport services, vehicle hire, accommodation, food and beverage services, entertainment and conference services, as well as the management of visitors through travel agencies. All this commercial activity is dependent on the promotion or encouragement of visits via different types of discourse present in tourism advertising. Tourism brings material changes to destinations in cultural, social and physical ways in order to accommodate visitors and their needs. One of the necessary adaptations is a linguistic adjustment, in that foreign languages “are considered as basic skills required by the tourist industry for its smooth, efficient running and by tourists for ‘getting by’ successfully” (Phipps 2007, 16). However, and without specifying any country in particular, tourism management recognizes it needs to address a “skills-shortage in languages” and that “to be a good host, these days, is to be able to speak words of welcome – be it on websites, in tourist brochures, and as tour guides – in languages that are comprehensible, and even native to the tourists. To be a good host (…) is to also be a translator (16)”. This chapter will consider whether the words of welcome found in interaction with tourists in Spain are mediated adequately through translated discourse.

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