Oh my, we have to be very careful when we communicate, particularly as Hospitality is a global industry. As such, we have all worked with international colleagues, who bring great energy and expertise to our businesses. They also come from other cultures and languages, which can certainly create some situations as we deal with each other and our guests.
Language is never exact! So, we need to be particularly adept and judicious when we decide to translate our words into another language. Sometimes we use local translators or computer programs for this service. Often, that transition is awkward, sometimes hilarious and other times just wrenching.
A correspondent with ETN International, Elisabeth Lang, shared a newly minted marketing brochure from a privately owned hotel in Beijing, as it reached out to attract guests, translating the hotel profile into English from Mandarin. These are some highlights (caveat emptor):
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity! You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.
Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.
Who knows what crowd this brochure will attract? It certainly spoke to detail, but the devil interceded. This linguistic adventure should give us all pause.
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, servicing our clients from offices and resources in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions and helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the National Football League, Avis Budget Group, Madison Square Garden, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit www.LRAworldwide.com.
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