They say that it’s better to be talked about than not be talked about. But… at what cost? The city of Seville has gained world renown, but not precisely for its many monuments. Tourism translation is the reason why, for good or ill, this popular city in Andalusia has been featured in news segments, newspapers and social media. And this is because tourism translation in Seville is not all it’s cracked up to be. And we’ll tell you why.
Mistakes in tourism translations
If you wish to visit Casa de Pilatos [House of Pilate] in Seville, it would be a good idea for you to get yourself in shape as, according to the translation on the sign commissioned by the Seville City Council, it is ‘Pilate’s House’. This is only one among the dozens of mistakes in tourism translation that the City Council has recently made and which could possibly drive foreign tourists crazy. And this is hardly surprising!
But Seville has also been the brunt of jokes for using literal translations for other places of interest. Hospital de las Cinco Llagas [Hospital of the Five Wounds] is apparently said in the same way in other languages because its translation is so literal that it actually remains the same.
But these mistakes in tourism translation are not isolated cases. Tourism professionals in other Spanish cities have also been known to use automatic translations or very literal translations of their services in an attempt to attract new clients. But the effect is usually quite the contrary. There are culinary translations that leave a bad taste in the mouth. But there’s also a way for tourists staying in a city where do not reside to go away happy. There are ways to keep translation mistakes from turning, for example, a hotel into hell.
Tourism translation, keeping well away from social ridicule
For good or ill, on the Internet, it is easy for a translation mistake to go viral; more so when it involves the number of mistakes made in the signage of Seville. Among the most popular comments on the Spanglish translation of the signs in Seville, the one who attributed the translation to Ana Botella, the wife of the former Prime Minister of Spain and the one who tried to encourage their ‘translation’ into other languages “in Chinese, if no one has attempted to translate it yet, La Macalena Wars, La Macalena Basilica, Tole de los Peldigones,” stand out.
To keep well away from social ridicule and to avoid becoming a trending topic in cases like these, the best thing to do is to go to translation professionals, who will know how to handle this type of tourism translations best so that tourists do not go back home with the wrong image of a place that they visit.