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Goosebumps Delivered in 12 Languages—Bringing the History of Ellis Island to a Diverse Audience

When Acoustiguide helped Ellis Island roll out newly revamped audio tours, they came to Eriksen for the translation. Today, multilingual visitors can walk through the Great Hall and hear the story of our nation’s immigrant heritage—in twelve languages.

The Gateway to America

From its opening in 1892 until it closed in 1954, Ellis Island was the busiest and most important port of entry into the United States. The Ellis Island Museum of Immigration opened its doors to the public in 1976, and today more than three million people visit each year to learn about the rich history of our nation’s immigrants and the role Ellis Island played in shaping the landscape of our country.

Self-guided audio tours have become a critical part of any museum experience. In 2017, Acoustiguide, in collaboration with the National Park Service and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, revamped the museum’s audio tours, producing compelling, new, multigenerational, multilingual experiences. The three-part, comprehensive chronicle amounts to over 120 hours of content and 2,000 audio stop segments. The scripts featured immigrants describing their Ellis Island experiences and sharing what became of themselves and their families after their arrival.

Strong Partnerships Lead to Strong Results

To make the exhibits accessible to all of the island’s visitors, Acoustiguide asked Eriksen to translate the audio guide scripts into Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Acoustiguide and Eriksen have enjoyed a strong partnership since 2009, developing multilingual experiences for museums and cultural attractions around the country.

At Eriksen, we understand the special level of care required for museums and cultural attractions, and Eriksen has a multi-step quality control process that enables us to meet the highest expectations. We began by assembling a team of 22 expert linguists who could translate the meaning of the dialogue in a way that would sound natural and convey the story with authenticity. Our project manager oversaw every step of the process, ensuring that the timeframe was met and that the translations convey the exact meaning of the source material.

Most recently, we have embarked on the largest project we have ever worked on—producing 120+ hours of content in 12 languages for The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. Eriksen Translations’ team was an integral partner in this project—we could not have done it without them.

Daniela Gorelov, Managing Director, Acoustiguide, Inc.

The Grand Unveiling

The new audio tours launched in March 2018 to positive feedback and enthusiastic responses from users. For the March 2017 grand unveiling, the museum hosted multilingual kids from New York and New Jersey, who each listened to the audio in the language they spoke at home. This video, by News 12 New Jersey, captures a few of the reactions expressed by students and parents after their visit to the island.

The Power of Storytelling

Eriksen helped Acoustiguide deliver a compelling audio experience by drawing on the strengths of a creative, responsive team and relying on a tried-and-true process. A diverse audience of New York City residents and visitors can now enjoy the rich story of our nation’s immigrant history on Ellis Island.

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