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Whatever your feeling is towards the 2012 London Olympics, it is probable that during the games we will see an influx of non-English speaking visitors descend on the UK. Although the bulk of the activities will be focused around London and the South East, the rest of the UK should also see a growth in its tourist numbers – some maybe trying to avoid the busy tourist spots of the London games. Common sense states we should see a correlation between increased tourist numbers and revenue. If we take the numbers from last Olympic games as an estimate, Beijing had around 600,000 foreign visitors during the games (coupled with over 2.5 million Chinese domestic tourists), and it contributed an additional £8.5 billion to Beijing’s GDP. Research by Llodys bank for the 2012 games has indicated that the Olympics could increase the UK economy by an additional £21 billion. Their report shows that the UK as a whole stands to benefit from increased tourism brought about by the Olympics. It estimates that the economy in the Midlands will benefit by an additional £3.2 billion and the North West by £3.2 billion.

So, 2012 should see an increase in domestic and foreign tourism, as well as an increase in spending. However, from a marketer’s point of view, legislation may restrict directly using the Olympics as a springboard for their marketing efforts.

Legal stipulations brought about by the emergence of ambush marketing over the past few years means that unless a company is an official sponsor of the games they will be unable to make reference to the Olympics in their marketing.

Designed to protect the interests of those who have invested heavily in the 2012 games, even the slightest reference to the games may fall foul of the legislation. This, however, doesn’t prevent companies from making the most of the increased marketing opportunity presented by the games. Entrepreneurial marketers should see the games as a real opportunity to maximise on a captive market, brought together by a common interest (and perhaps more importantly) common requirements.

So what are the steps companies can take to make the most of the increased market brought about by the 2012 games? At PS we’ve put our heads together to come up with a list of 4 key areas companies can focus on, which we feel will help them make the most of the London 2012 games.

First off, as with all marketing, you need to undertake research to understand it. With over 9 millions tickets expected to be sold, this will be a very large market which, drawn by the common interest in the games, will be in need of a variety of products and services. The key will be in anticipating where this market will be (not just London but at other venues across the UK) and where they will be coming from. Here is where market research can play a crucial role. There are already a number of bodies offering research related to the Olympics and at PS we feel your business will benefit greatly from finding out more about this market.

Secondly, you will need to be able to communicate with this potential market. It is likely that the games will draw visitors from across the globe, all speaking and communicating in different languages. To capitalise on this market you will need to be able to get your message across (be it a marketing message or information message). Marketing literature, such as brochures, leaflets and websites can all be used to communicate your message and if these can be presented in multiple languages, then the more so the better. Ultimately, a group of tourists is more likely to take up an offer from a provider if they can understand what is being presented to them.

It will also pay to get your business out there. After you have concluded your market research you should be able to anticipate where your market will be. You will now need to make sure you are present in their minds when they come to make a decision. This could mean paying to get listed on a web directory for a specific category in a specific geographical region or distributing targeting literature near an Olympic event. Whenever you feel something is appropriate for your business, making sure your message is understood by your market will be important.

Although legislation prevents marketers from making direct reference in their marketing to the games, it does not prevent companies from partaking in spectating at the games which, if used as an account management activity, could help boost sales. Why not impress your overseas clients by taking them to one of the events, showcasing the best that Britain has to offer and providing them with excellent hospitality. The use of a business interpreter can help aid the communication process here, where a common language may not be spoken.

If, like most companies making up the UK economy, your business would struggle with the extravagance of an all out targeted marketing campaign on this scale, there are still a number of things you can do. Although the bulk of the events will be taking place in the South East and London there will still be plenty of opportunities outside the capital. Many sports and recreational centres outside London will host events as well as training. Companies in these regions would be well placed to focus some of their efforts on this market. Cost effective marketing communication that incorporates multilingual versions of their message can be undertaken by smaller companies. Messages may need to be simplified but again, by having a message that communicates in a language the target market can understand will go a long way to help them reach decisions.

At PS we are excited by the prospect of the games – we feel that the games do present a real opportunity for business and also Britain as a whole.



Published - June 2010

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