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Tahoe tourism group sets a multi-lingual Web site sepresence

John Seelmeyer
hseelmeyer@nnbw.biz

Foreign visitors often treasure the times that they hear a little conversation in their native language, a sign that someone cared enough to try.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, which sees a growing number of visitors from around the world, is making the same effort on its Web site.

The authority was awarded $2,500 by the Nevada Commission on Tourism this summer to design and execute Web pages that greet visitors in six languages — Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Portugese and German.

“It’s a goodwill gesture. It shows that we respect them, and we want their business,” says Tony Lyle, director of tourism for Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

Other destinations that draw foreign visitors often rely on automated Web services to provide translations into visitors’ home languages — often with unintentionally humorous results.

“It’s a bad precedent,” says Lyle. “Using an automatic translator like that just doesn’t work.”

Instead, the visitors authority will hire human translators and create individual landing pages in each of the six languages. The project is expected to be completed during the next couple of months.

Lyle says the sales pitch will remain essentially unchanged from one language to the next.

“Our focus is on striking imagery, and that appeals to all markets,” he says.

Lyle notes that development of the multi-lingual Web site is designed to support the Nevada Commission on Tourism’s drive to increase international travel to the state.

The grant was one of 148 totaling more than $985,000 awarded this summer by the Nevada Commission on Tourism to encourage development of tourism in rural areas of the state.