4 ways to communicate in a language that you do not speak
Were you ever contacted by a guest or have you ever received an inquiry in a language that you do not speak? As your web-pages and online advertisements are becoming available in a growing number of languages chances of this happening are rather great. Even if you have not advertised in a specific language, or made it available on your web-page, it is possible to be contacted by a guest with an inquiry in their native language, of which you do not understand a single word.
What options do you have available in a situation like that? Ignore the inquiry or reply in a language that you or the guest does not speak? No, these are not options, these are very poor decisions!
If you are interested in free (or relatively cheap) and quick translation of each inquiry you receive without leaving your computer or without paying for foreign language courses continue reading this post…
Google Translate is a free online service that offers two way translation for 58 languages.
All there needs to do done is:
- copy/paste specific text into the translation box.
- select the language of the text in the field above the box and
- choose the desired destination language in the field next to the box.
After these 3 quick steps, Google Translate will instantly provide you with a translation that should help you grasp what the inquiry is about. If you are not sure about which language the inquiry is in, Google Translate also offers a Detect language option that will automatically recognize the language for you.
After this, you can write a reply and translate it by repeating the procedure described above.
Since these translations are carried out by a program that is not intelligent enough, the results can be strange and grammatically inaccurate as well as inferior to those prepared by a human. Regardless of this shortcoming, it is still possible to understand the overall meaning of the message and to provide a quick reply.
For most users, the main advantage of Google Translate over other similar free internet services (such as WorldLing, Reverso, etc.) is that it offers translations to their native language and has other advance features as well. Try Google Translate here and we recommend that you place it in your bookmarks.
BabelWithMe is a free online chat service that automatically translates conversations between all participants of a chat from and to their languages.
In order to create a new room/conversation all you have to do is click on the Start Conversation button on the home page. Each chat room has its unique address (link) that you can send to others, i.e. to a guest.
The program automatically detects the language of each participant so there is no need for you to make individual adjustments. If the service makes a mistake while detecting one’s language, each individual can define the language on his or her own with just two clicks. It is important to highlight that translations to some languages are more accurate and easier to understand than they are with Google Translate as long as you use proper grammar and spelling.
The true advantage of this service is best seen when you and your guest are at the same time in a chat room. Regardless of the fact that you cannot understand each other’s languages, it is possible to carry on with a conversation in real time while BabelWithMe becomes your invisible interpreter.
The second advantage is that chat rooms are always available, whether you are online or not. This allows you to leave a message for your guest and they will be able to read it once they go online and click on the link to enter the room.
The third advantage is the ability to quickly send your conversation to your e-mail in order to keep a transcript readily available.
The only drawback to this service is that it takes you away from your e-mail to a separate page to communicate with another person and some people might not prefer this. You can test BabelWithMe here.
Translations from and to various languages have never been more affordable. You can find professional companies in every country whose services will meet 99% of your demands as they offer translations for most of the leading global languages. Translation prices vary from country to country. In Croatia the cost is around 16 € + VAT per card of text (one card usually equates to 1500 characters). On average, 5-6 inquiries equal one card. This means that a translation of a single inquiry would probably cost you only 2-3 €.
You can also agree upon permanent cooperation and negotiate a bluk price discount. Even though an investment into something like this might seem significant, take into account its multiple benefits after you record an increase in the number of your reservations. This will make your expenses insignificant in comparison to your profits.
Once you reach an agreement with a translation company about payments and completion deadlines, all you have to do is send them any inquiry you do not understand and they will provide you with a translation. The advantage of this approach is that you are guaranteed a professional translation without any uncertainties or problems in your communication with a guest. Also, guests will be delighted when they receive a reply in their native language while they would probably not expect it.
A disadvantage of this approach is that it might slow down communication. Even though translators can be contacted via e-mail and can provide you with a translation in short period of time, this does not imply that all translators for all languages are always available, that your translation will be given priority over others, and that they are available 24/7 as are online services.
This solution is exactly the same as the previous one, except for the fact that you can negotiate a lower fee per text card with part-time translators. The problem is that a single person cannot cover all languages a translation company covers. This is why you will require the services of several part-time translators to ensure translations for all languages you require.
It is necessary to negotiate terms of business cooperation and availability with each of them individually so that they can be available when you need them most. There is also a possibility that the translation itself might be of lesser quality in comparison to professional translators, but this is not always the case as it depends primarily on who you decide to work with and at what price. The best way to seek out part-time translators is by placing a classified ad on job sites.
Advantages of online services such as Google Translate and BabelWithMe are speed and availability at which they can provide you with relatively acceptable translations for a significant number of languages, thus allowing you to communicate quickly with your guest. Such speed is almost impossible to accomplish if you are using professional or part-time translators.
However, online services do not provide quality and accurate translations that tend to impress guests and leave a better impression of you (which is very important). Nonetheless, if they were of comparable quality, would they still be free?
It is up to you to choose a free translation of lesser quality, or a translation of higher quality that has a price tag on it.
Our advice is not to rely exclusively on either of these options, instead, try to find a satisfying middle-of-the-road solution. By standardizing your answers and preparing predefined texts for frequently asked questions you should be able to communicate with the majority of your guests.
This means that all you need are well written and well translated texts which will then always be readily available without creating any additional costs every time you use them. Along with these, you can use online translation services in order to determine which of those predefined texts should you use to reply to a certain guest and also to be able to differentiate confirmed and cancelled reservations.
If you have a different solution for these issues, a recommendation for a better service or a translator that you were pleased with, please tell us about it in the comments bellow.