LONDON - Thomson and First Choice's 24/7 Holidayline has launched a new translation service to offer round-the-clock language services for all customers travelling abroad.
Working with translation provider Veritas, translators will be on hand to offer assistance for customers whether they are attending a doctor's appointment, haggling for a deal whilst shopping in a local market or dealing with an emergency such as a lost passport or wallet. All customers need to do is call the 24/7 Holidayline, a dedicated telephone line for Thomson and First Choice customers abroad, and ask to speak to a translator.
The service will be available in 157 languages and aims to help customers overcome any issues caused by language barriers.
The service was introduced following research commissioned by Thomson and First Choice that found only a third don't bring a phrase book whilst travelling abroad and nearly a fifth (18%) never try to speak the language. Furthermore, a quarter of people enjoy trying to speak the local language when away. When asked why they don't try to speak the local language a quarter felt they were terrible at languages and nearly a fifth of people (18%) feel too embarrassed.
The research also highlighted that Brits have problems trying to use a foreign language for basic tasks with nearly half of respondents (47%) admitting that they would have difficulties making a restaurant reservation and over a third (40%) would struggle to get directions or see a doctor.
Ian Chapman, Director of Holiday Experience for Thomson and First Choice, said: "From the independent research we carried out, we know that our customers may experience language barriers whilst on holiday. We want to break down these barriers, so they have the confidence to fully explore the destination they are visiting. This service will provide support to those customers wanting to get off the beaten track, or will serve as a lifeline should any problems be encountered whilst away. All customers need to do is dial our 24/7 Holidayline and within minutes they'll be speaking to a translator who can assist in communicating in the local language. Veritas is another example of how we are constantly striving to improve and modernise the service we offer our customers."
Sharon Stephens, Managing Director of Veritas: "It is refreshing to see how Thomson and First Choice are addressing any potential language issues that people may face overseas. Too many companies steer away from this issue rather than offering customers a solution and support. Veritas will provide their customers with more confidence and encouragement to travel further and embrace more cultures. It is after all, a very small world - with so much to see!"