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How to translate an entire digital tour guide in one click including the audio

It is essential for digital tour guides to accommodate the needs of a diverse audience with different languages to effectively connect with people from various backgrounds. Despite its importance, the translation of the guides' content, particularly the audio component, can pose significant challenges.

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A visitor abroad enjoying a self-guided tour in her language

These can range from maintaining the essence and tone of the original content to ensuring linguistic and cultural accuracy. Additionally, the ease of accomplishing this task is also an important factor to consider.

In this blog, we will delve into the existing possibilities when it comes to translating digital audio guides.

The challenges of translating an entire digital tour guide

Translating a digital tour guide can pose several problems to overcome:

  1. Localization scope: Adapting and tailoring content to specific locales for different regions and cultures can be challenging, especially when dealing with huge volumes of content. It requires careful consideration of cultural nuances, language variations, and regional preferences.
  2. Audio generation: Creating audio tracks by human narrators is costly, takes time, and making subsequent changes to the content can be highly impractical. AI-powered text-to-speech (TTS) tools offer a faster and more efficient way, although it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Content creators must thoroughly review the TTS output and adjust the phonemes to ensure smooth audio with flawless pronunciation.
  3. Cloning the tour structure: Even with user-friendly platforms, manually cloning tours to create multilingual versions can be time-consuming and require extensive clicking. Every aspect of the tour, including the structure, descriptions, multimedia, and points of interest, needs to be set and localized. That is why built-in content cloning features can be a game-changer.
  4. Cost challenge: Professional human translators may charge higher fees for their services compared to machine translation tools. However, it is crucial to weigh the cost against the quality and accuracy required for the specific content.

Streamline guide translation with SmartGuide's single-click solution

SmartGuide offers an integrated solution in its content management system (CMS) that combines machine translation and localization capabilities for both text and audio. It enables DMOs, tourist attractions, tour operators, and travel businesses to deliver smooth multilingual digital guides quickly and cost-effectively.

SmartGuide's single-click content translation process consists of two stages in the backend for optimal results. First, the text is swiftly translated using DeepL. This translated content is then seamlessly inserted in place of the original text, creating a multilingual version of the destination. Following suit, audio is automatically generated using Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology from the auto-translated text. Though involving multiple steps backstage, the process appears as a simple click action to the end-user.

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SmartGuide's CMS functionality allows content creators to clone existing tours and create versions in multiple languages easily. It follows a hierarchical structure, starting with the default language of a destination (e.g., English). To translate not just a tour, but even a destination into the desired language (e.g., Spanish), content creators just simply check its availability at the destination level and click "Translate".

The entire tour or destination translation process may take several minutes to complete for voluminous content (especially for a destination with many points of interest).

When you check and proofread the translation you can click on the button “Mark translation as reviewed". Content creators also have the option to toggle between the two language versions, making it easy to switch between languages.

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Clicking this box and seeing the GREEN label means the text is checked.

This is how it looks on SmartGuide app (frontend)

This is how it looks on SmartGuide app

Scalability and efficiency of the guide translation process

When a new language is added, or when you already have more destination languages, or if you translate the destination and then add more places later created and want to have all places in all languages, the system prompts for "update translations," ensuring that all content is up to date.

Even existing marketing material with QR codes remains unchanged, as the already existing QR codes direct users to the same destination regardless of the language. This scalability allows for cloning languages as needed, providing flexibility and efficiency in managing multilingual content. It is however strongly recommended to review the machine-generated content.  

Choose the language of the destination you originally created on SmartGuide CMS

Choose the language of the destination you originally created. at SmartGuide CMS

Choose the language of the destination you originally created.

Factors affecting translation time and considerations for machine-generated translations

The time taken to translate a digital tour guide depends on factors like the number of Points of Interest (POIs), translation per item, and the volume of characters in the original content. Longer tours or an entire destination may require more time for translation than a single POI. It is important to carefully review machine-generated translations, particularly for languages such as German or Czech, which are known to present more challenges in terms of accuracy and quality. Also, Text-to-speech (TTS) can sometimes generate incorrect pronunciation as it follows the rules of the original language.

If content creators come across any audio translation issues, there are several solutions for achieving optimal results

  1. Self-check of translation and pronunciation
    Having a good grasp of English pronunciation enables content creators to accurately articulate and spell words through comprehensive research in their preferred language. This grants them the ability to self-correct. For instance, they can modify "s" to "sch" to ensure precise pronunciation. It's worth noting that e.g. the pronunciation of the "<sch>" (and several other) sequences in English exhibits considerable variation, primarily due to its absence in 'native' or inherited Germanic words. Furthermore, content creators have the option to upload their audio, thereby avoiding these pronunciation errors.
  2. Pronunciation and phonemes fix by SmartGuide
    The mistakes in pronunciation can be resolved with phonemes, which SmartGuide uses to teach the Text-to-Speech voice the correct pronunciation. This is a paid service and content creators just need to contact SmartGuide to get it. Phenomes for TTS audio are available at a rate of Euros 60 per hour.
  1. Human review and bespoke professional services
    SmartGuide's translation service empowers content creators to maintain quality and accuracy through a human review process, giving them piece of mind and better control over their translations. It combines AI-powered machine translation with a review workflow that allows for manual and automated edits. This ensures high-quality, accurate translations that quickly meet market needs. For refined translations, SmartGuide provides professional human translation services at a cost.

No privacy or security concerns when using AI-powered translation technology

Since the translation is processed through DeepL, it technically passes through third-party servers where it may be accessible. However, this aspect is inconsequential for two reasons.

Firstly, the guide content is intended to be public in any case.

Secondly, the EU copyright laws, which are particularly stringent when it comes to intangible ownership and copyright enforcement, apply in this scenario. That is why SmartGuide has a contractual agreement in place with all content authors, providing them with the necessary coverage.


SmartGuide offers an efficient tour as well as a destination translation solution in a single click. Content creators can leverage AI-powered tools, a human review process, and professional services to swiftly generate multilingual versions of their tours that cater to a global audience.

With SmartGuide, content creators can confidently produce multilingual tours with minimal effort and time commitment. Thanks to continuous enhancements by DeepL, these services are poised to further improve in the future. The development is not just limited to DeepL but is also being extended to the TTS technology, thereby continuously expanding the capabilities of digital guides translation to an even wider range of languages. In addition, SmartGuide is exploring new technologies to reduce further the time and effort it takes for content creators to bring their travel guide content to a global audience. As a result, content creators have a range of resources at their disposal to ensure the broadest possible accessibility of their tours.

Contact us to learn more!