16 February 2006,   By ,   0 Comments

Their messages reach around the globe, courtesy of the World Wide Web. So it makes sense that some Florida tourist organizations are translating their published materials into other languages.

But in the translation business, one size does not fit all.

Visit Florida, the state’s marketing agency, has made its Web site available in foreign languages and dialects including British English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Tampa-based AAA Auto Club South just opened a franchise in Puerto Rico and has hired a local advertising agency to translate its printed material into Spanish. The club has done Spanish translation piece-by-piece, but this is the first time it has done a comprehensive Spanish translation, according to AAA spokesman Gregg Laskoski.

AAA’s literature needs to be translated not just into Spanish, but into the correct dialect.

“Puerto Rican Spanish is slightly different from Cuban Spanish or Mexican Spanish,” said Pedro Luis Perez, vice president of sales and marketing for Sarasota-based Nuevo Advertising Group, which was chosen by AAA for the job. Nuevo Advertising Group says it focuses on “bridging the gap between businesses and the Hispanic community.”

Translation of printed material, advertising and AAA’s Web site will be part of a multipronged campaign for Nuevo Advertising Group.

Any business that wants to communicate effectively with the Spanish-speaking audience needs to take dialect into account and make sure the message reaches the intended audience, Laskoski said: “One size does not fit all.”

Translation into Spanish will boost marketing efforts not only in Puerto Rico, but also in the United States and locally, according to Perez.

Census figures show the Spanish-speaking population growing by 147 percent per year in this area, he said.

“Tourist organizations are trying to attract the broadest possible audience to the area,” Perez said. “A Web site is an international gateway to your business. People can pick it up anywhere. It would be naive not to translate.”

Travel agencies changing

In a post-9-11 world where travelers like to make their own arrangements on the Internet, travel agencies, as we once knew them, all but went away. Kim Taylor is what you might consider a pioneer in the industry.

She owns Admiral Travel Gallery, newly opened in Lakewood Ranch. The travel agency is an offshoot from the original Admiral Travel which opened in 1997 in Sarasota.

Taylor attributes the agency’s resilience to chipping out a niche market in luxurious added-on travel services its clients may not ever have considered.

Another client booked a trans-Atlantic cruise but didn’t want to go on the pre-arranged tour bus with 70 other passengers.

“They want a private custom tour in the Canary Islands, so I’m arranging for a private driver and guide to pick them up,” she said.

The agency handles everything from a simple airline booking to a private villa in France and front-row tickets to the Rolling Stones concert.

Sound more expensive than doing the booking yourself? Not necessarily so, Taylor says. The agency has a lot of relationships with hotels, cruise lines and tour companies that give it special rates and contracts, plus incentives for clients like upgrades and welcome gifts.

“People have it in their minds that it’s going to cost more through an agency,” she said. “Generally, it costs the same if not less.”

Getting people to book the first time is the hard part. Afterward, repeat customers and referrals are pretty much a sure thing, Taylor said.