The Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) is Croatia’s national tourist organization founded with the aim of creating and promoting the identity and reputation of Croatian tourism domestically and internationally. The CNTB’s activities include both planning and implementing a promotional strategy, as well as proposing and implementing promotional activities that are of common interest to all entities involved in tourism, and improving the quality of all Croatia’s tourism services, facilities and activities.
The CNTB’s most important responsibilities include the organization, implementation and supervision of all activities related to the branding and promotion of Croatia’s tourism products, the unification of Croatia’s tourism services, facilities and activities overall, the implementation of operational market research for the promotion of Croatian tourism, and the evaluation of the promotional activities that have been carried out.
How did your cooperation with Ciklopea begin?
We require translation to and from sixteen languages (English, German, Italian, Czech, French, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Slovak, Dutch, Norwegian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese), and, having worked with several providers of language solutions to cover all these language combinations in the past, we decided that we should try and centralize the procurement procedure of translation services, which meant finding a partner who could provide high quality services rendered by professional native linguists.
We issued a call for tenders, Ciklopea came forth with a reasonable offer and won the contract.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of centralizing translation services?
The advantages are numerous. There is a single point of contact for request and delivery of translations into any number of language pairs, any queries from the translators are also answered through one channel only, and it is also much less complicated from a legal and financial perspective. Also, we know that the same procedures and quality control have been applied across all the language combinations. There are really no disadvantages.
One of your specific requests was that all translators and editors must be professional translators and native speakers of the target language. Can you tell us a bit more about this? What is it in your line of work that calls for this specific requirement?
Our target audiences are foreign tourists and it is our job to make their experience of this beautiful land of ours as smooth and as enjoyable as possible. This includes providing them with relevant and accurate information in their native language. In addition to making tourists feel welcome in Croatia, it also shows our country in the best possible light and eliminates a whole slew of potential issues.
In our line of work, “accurate information” means “well translated information”.
Now, to achieve that level of localization of experience, we need the talents of native speakers who will know how to shape the materials in the best possible way, to ensure that other native speakers can understand them.
We do not want to confuse or offend our visitors, so having native, professional human translators working on our projects is simply a must.
This means that you don’t really consider machine translation to be a viable option?
No. A good deal of our materials are related to branding and marketing, which means that they are focused on people and developed to evoke certain emotions, to make someone who is half a world away really want to come here and enjoy the beauties of Croatia. We need people to communicate information written by people and for people – machines simply can’t do this.
Most of your materials require creative translation, or transcreation, which involves certain deviations from the source materials to convey its style, rhythm and intent. Is that what you call “localization of experience”?
It is definitely a part of it, yes. We want our translated materials to have a natural flow and to feel like they were written by a native speaker. For instance, we do not want footnotes explaining why something is translated the way it is, or awkward sentence structures. If conveying the source information and intent requires certain deviations from the source materials, the translators must be encouraged to do it.