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Creating moving media for multilingual commentary systems requires pre-planning and a vision for your tour experience. If you’re providing multilanguage commentary, you need to rely on skills, expertise, and a clearly defined process for results; offering exciting multilanguage commentary should be your main focus and not a second thought. Keep reading to get our top 8 tips for providing multilingual tour commentary.

  1. When starting any project, begin with the route. In some cases, your sightseeing route may not be clearly defined. Having a predefined route is crucial to ensuring that you’re offering a consistent tour experience to your guests. Some of the challenges that can be encountered on-site is that some drivers like to go off-route or drive down preferred streets, without strictly following a predefined sightseeing route. In some cases, you may be unaware of these route challenges.
  2. While having a regular defined route is crucial, it is also important to have bail-out routes. Bail-out routes include annual planned events such as parades and festivals, as well as unforeseen route construction or traffic congestion. In regards to content, bail-out routes should include both pre-planned as well as what we call “filler” commentary. Filler commentary is general sightseeing commentary that is not location specific, can be played anywhere, and provides passengers with fun and interesting facts about your destination.
  3. Timing is critical; to address this, we recommend spending a minimum of three to five days on a sightseeing route. It is important to look at all the potential variables, including traffic patterns, tour stops (for hop-on, hop-off tours) as well as pre-planned stops, water traffic scenarios, as well as alternative GPS waypoints or high traffic scenarios. Create a timing template to document all of the various traffic and timing scenarios throughout the day that can become a guide for the writer. Each of the waypoints along a route can be assigned a time so that a writer knows that they have a writing block (with designated time) for each segment of commentary.
  4. When writing commentary, you need to keep it simple, and forget about words that most people won’t understand. Most importantly, sell the fun. The power of moving media (location based storytelling) is the opportunity for providing fun, learning and entertainment while engaging your audience with compelling stories and capturing hearts and minds. When writing your commentary, pretend you are having a conversation with someone to ensure you’re using laments terms and are writing something easy to understand.
  5. If you’re creating multi-language commentary, you need a well honed process for foreign language translations. Despite the fact that you may be able to get translations cheaper from a translation firm, you need translators who know how to tell great stories. We recommend using foreign language storytellers instead of foreign language translators. This is because professional storytellers capture the essence of the story being told in the allotted time while conveying the same message. Additionally, we suggest hiring two translators to write every script for quality assurance. Make sure that one is the lead storyteller to ensure the theme and tone of your script is consistent. You always want to make sure that you are delivering on your promise of providing great tours to all passengers.
  6. Your foreign language storytellers need to capture the essence of stories, all while adding meaning and context, as well as taking audience and cultural sensitivity into consideration. You need to tell stories the way your foreign languages guests want to hear them, which means you need to take culture into consideration during the translation process. What you say in English may not translate well into another language, or may be culturally insensitive. When writing for the language and culture, avoid things like slang, wordplay and puns, because they won’t be understood or worse, may offend.

Take the extra time to make your multilingual tours engaging and exciting. Your business will benefit from the thought and care put into creating a memorable experience for your customers, and will only continue to grow and thrive.

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