How to Translate Your eCommerce Shop in 4 Easy Steps

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Contrary to what the term “translation” might mean in the eyes of some business owners, it’s so much more than merely switching content from one language to another. Those languages have arisen from the different cultural heritage, different mindsets, communication preferences, etiquette, and expectations. 

The translation is a form of art that entails imbuing your words with meaning and purpose in the target language without abandoning your brand identity in the process or neglecting to keep the target culture and location in mind. The same applies when you go to translate your eCommerce shop!

Trying to appeal to your new target demographic to make a purchase largely means to rely on your website content. That is precisely why you need to choose your translation strategy carefully, and ensure that your brand remains consistent in the new locations where you wish to expand your business.

Let’s go over a few key tips to help you choose the most optimal way to translate your eCommerce shop and attract new local customers.

1. Optimize your target content

To give your eCommerce shop a decent fighting chance in the new target market, you need to be mindful of your optimization needs. 

After all, directly translated web copy doesn’t mean that you have automatically incorporated the right keywords, used the right metadata, let alone included the most reputable links across your website – which is why you need to optimize your website for the search engines.

Formulating your SEO approach

SEO is a factor that should be considered right off the bat during the translation process. This is especially vital if your new target audience uses different search engines, and thus different algorithm rules apply. 

From researching relevant keyword phrases, all the way to optimizing images, customizing URLs, meta content, tags, titles, and scripts, and crafting locally-relevant content, your eCommerce shop translation heavily depends on SEO. 

2. Translate Shop: focus on transcreation 

Upon noticing the key failings of simple “word for word” translation often used in the world of eCommerce, language and marketing experts have put together a different approach to targeting a new market that requires a new language and a new voice: transcreation.

In fact, more eCommerce brands rely on transcreation services nowadays to replace old-school translation, so as to incorporate cultural, data-driven nuances. 

This creative process doesn’t end with language, in fact, it delves deep into the unique psychology of cultural interaction to add a visual dimension to your translation, too. Simply put, much like words, images and colors can have different associations in different cultures, so transcreation experts take those into consideration, too.

Extending into your marketing

Transcreation goes above and beyond language translation to also help you craft a unique, culturally-driven marketing approach that will help your webshop stand out and make an impression.

As a result, your marketing, as well as advertising, can have a unique advantage in your new target market. That is why so many companies today slowly transition away from simple translations into this authentic approach.

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3. Human vs machine translations

Marketers love technology, and we have become so dependent on automation that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. That said, machine learning, AI-driven solutions, and specialized tech solutions for translation are still widely used among many eCommerce stores, precisely because of their simplicity and high levels of versatility.

Alas, eCommerce business owners often believe that it’s an “either-or” conundrum, whereas forward-thinking businesses tend to combine and use the best of both worlds.

There are customizable plugins for various webshop platforms that you can use, as well as translation tools that enable human translators to further refine and perfect the language to fit the market. 

4. Don’t forget to localize your website

Localization is different from translation, but it’s also one of the key factors that will ultimately impact the success of your translated content and the entire website. To give your eCommerce shop a localized presence, you need to give it a local context in which your new target audience can fully appreciate your offers.

That means you need to think of communication systems other than the target language that will shape the perception of your brand and your products.

What metric system is in use?

What kind of currency is valid?

Do your visitors read from left to right, or from right to left?

Do the same holidays and customs apply as in your own place of residence?

Let your research go beyond the language alone, and make sure your content reflects these parameters, as well.

Conclusion

Whether you need to switch to a new size-guide for your shoes and shirts, add a metric system into the mix to explain dimensions, or convert from one currency to another, you understand that translation isn’t limited to raw language.

In fact, the more you look at all the factors that come into play, you begin to unravel so many aspects that can impact your ability to grow into this new market and sell successfully.

After all, would you buy a pair of shoes, jeans, or a new pair of headphones from a retailer with barely comprehensible product descriptions or no size chart that you actually understand?

And finally, what kind of solution would you see as the best one to translate your own eCommerce shop?

Feel free to add your suggestions and share your experiences in the comment section below! 

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