Whether you’re selling online using WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce (or any ecommerce CMS!), knowing how to translate your ecommerce store to sell internationally is going to be pretty crucial.
Theoretically, any online store can sell to anyone in the world simply because the Internet can be accessed by almost anyone. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to convert those customers quite so easily.
Multilingual stats and localization trends show that 73% of customers prefer to purchase a product or service from a site that provides information in their own language so it’s no wonder that ecommerce merchants are looking towards store translations to attract more customers.
So, with that in mind, this article will show you exactly how to translate your products (actually the whole of your ecommerce store) including product titles, descriptions, metadata and more.
What should be translated on your ecommerce store
Let’s start at the beginning of ecommerce store translation. Firstly, localization best practices mean you should translate everything on your site, however, it can appear at first a little more complicated than the average website translation project. That’s because there are several elements to your store that you’ll need to pay special attention to.
Coupled with the sheer number of products you might be selling, knowing where to begin can be daunting.
We’re addressing translating your products in the article but we’ve also pulled out other specific parts of your ecommerce store that shouldn’t be overlooked either.
You’ll have spent a significant amount of time ensuring your product descriptions are perfect in the original language of your website, so these need some careful consideration when it comes to translating them.
You also need to think about SEO here and that the translated versions are also SEO optimized for your new target languages.
This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with your product descriptions and as these are a prominent part of your website and selling your products.
A crucial part of any ecommerce website, here you’ll either make that sale or lose a potential customer due to cart abandonment. So, if your checkout process isn’t fully translated you risk alienating your new customers right at the conversion stage.
Every field needs to be understandable to your potential customers so you can avoid the above.
An important part of any ecommerce website is the FAQ section. This is where your customers will naturally navigate, to find the answer to questions on returns, delivery, and estimated shipping.
It’s crucial you give this information in their native language to ease the buying process and improve trust with your customers.
3rd party plugins
It’s pretty common that as an ecommerce merchant you’ve added numerous 3rd party plugins to enhance your store. These can range from review apps/plugins, optimized search bars, etc.
These also need to be translated as it can look quite messy if, for example, your review plugin is still in the original language of your website, but the rest isn’t. Not to mention the fact that reviews are a very important part of social proof and increasing the chances of securing a customer.
Once you’ve translated your ecommerce store, don’t forget about your metadata! This is an important part of getting found by your new customers. Optimizing your meta titles and descriptions will ensure that you’ll be indexed by international search engines.
Add new languages to your ecommerce store
Let’s move on to how you’ll actually achieve a fully multilingual ecommerce store.
The first thing you’ll need to do is install Weglot. Weglot works with all CMS (and non-CMS) just find your integration to follow the exact steps related to your specific CMS and you’re good to go!
Weglot’s no-code ecommerce translation solution means that anyone can translate their store. The most important part is that Weglot translates everything, which includes all the tricky parts we mentioned above such as your checkout, 3rd party apps, and metadata, to mention a few.
Another benefit is the first layer of machine translation it gives, meaning the content of your store is instantly translated which is useful as most ecommerce stores can run into tens of thousands of words.
You can then make manual translations later (we’ll discuss this below).
You’ll also see that Weglot has added a language-switcher to your store so your site visitors can switch between the language of their choice. This is completely customizable in your Weglot Dashboard if you did want to change the design.
Note: All Weglot plans include multilingual SEO features so you’ll be indexed by global search engines.
How to translate your products
Let’s take a look at how you actually translate your products. The first thing to remember is that your store has already been given a kick start in the translation department with a first layer of machine translation.
If that type of translation quality is what you’re looking for, then there’s actually nothing else for you to do…your store is 100% translated and live. But for those that do want to make manual edits to your store product translations, let’s take a look in more detail.
Firstly, there are 2 ways to edit your translations using Weglot. The first way is through your Translations List. This filters by URL and then you can easily use the search bar to find the translation(s) you want to check.
However, for many of Weglot’s users, the Visual Editor is the preferred method. So in this article, we’ll take a closer look at that form of translation management.
Translating product titles and descriptions
In the Weglot Dashboard navigate to the Translations tab and then click on Visual Editor. This will take you to a live preview of your website.
We’ve then used the filter at the top to select the language we want to edit and selected all translation types so you can see which part of your ecommerce store has been automatically translated, manually edited or pro translated.
As we’re just starting out, everything is highlighted in red and marked as automatic translation.
The first thing we’ll do is go to our product pages through the Visual Editor.
If you hover over the product title you want to edit, you’ll see a blue pencil icon. Click on it.
Now you can make the relevant change in the box, or of course, if you’re happy with the machine translation you can leave it as it is. Just click ‘OK’ to make the change live on your store.
You’ll also notice that you can switch between the different languages here too.
Next, we can take a look at the product description. In exactly the same way as we made an edit to the product title, click on the blue pencil icon next to your product description and make your change.
We’d love to say there’s more to it than that, but there simply isn’t! Click through your translations and continue making your edits as we’ve just shown you.
As we mentioned earlier, translating your metadata is also a crucial part of ecommerce store translation. To do that you can either use the ‘SEO’ button located at the top of the visual editor, or in this case you might find the translations list easier.
Go back to the main Weglot Dashboard and the Translations List. Click into the language pair you’d like to edit and use the filter to select ‘Meta (SEO)’.
You’ll now see all the metadata descriptions and titles of your ecommerce store displayed here. Click into a translation to make an edit. It then automatically saves and updates on your live store and helps improve your visibility.
Translate your checkout
Your checkout is best edited through the translations list as it’s easily accessible by URL.
There is something slightly specific you’ll need to do for this though. You’ll need to simulate and order (you don’t need to go all the way to the actual purchase) to generate the translations so you can make edits.
Then all you need to do is make an edit just like we showed you in the previous step.
Translate a media file
Sometimes you might want to show a different angle of a product image for a different market. Or perhaps you want to use a more culturally sensitive image.
To do this go to your Translations List and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click on ‘Add a media translation’.
Then a popup will appear. Simply add in the original media file name and the one you want to replace it with and you’re good!
Changing a video file also works the same way.
Translating the whole of your ecommerce store
As previously mentioned, your store has already been translated by Weglot, it’s just a case of making edits (if you’d like to) or validating machine translations. That means your homepage, FAQ, blog, etc.
The process of editing any URL is the same as above, just choose whether you prefer to make edits in the Translations List or through the visual editor.
The best part about Weglot is that you have an instantly translated ecommerce store. You can of course choose to edit in ‘Private Mode’ which just means none of your translations will be visible to potential website visitors until you’re ready.
And, another feature that cannot be overlooked is that any new products you upload to your store will be automatically translated and displayed.
See for yourself how eyewear brand Jimmy Fairly benefited from such a feature.
Defining your translation quality
As we mentioned earlier Weglot gives you a first layer of machine translation with the option to make manual edits. If you have your own bilingual teammates then you can add them to your Weglot translation project to help, or add your own translators and there’s even the option to order pro translators through the Weglot platform.
When it comes to deciding on the type of translation quality you want to display on your ecommerce website, the choice really is yours. Weglot gives you all the options and in fact, many of our users prefer to use a mix of all three options mentioned.
We recently had the chance to dive into that exact subject matter with Weglot user FELT Bicycles. They needed a translation solution to help them launch their store in Europe, adding German, French, and Spanish.
Read the full FELT Bicycles case study
The marketing team at FELT Bicycles took advantage of the option to blend machine translation and human editing to ensure accurate translations for their new markets.
What ecommerce store owners might not think about is the concept of segmenting your website content into types, which is exactly how FELT Biycicles handled their website translation.
For example, there are some areas of your website that can be left with machine translation and other areas you’d like to use some human editing and so on.
If you’d eventually like to manually edit all the machine translations on your website then you can rank your content in order of priority. We recently discussed the subject “Using Machine Translation for your website: the dos and don’ts” to give you more insight on how to make the most of machine translation on your website.
The simple way to translate your ecommerce store products and more
So, as you can see, translating your ecommerce store doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve shown you exactly how quickly you can have a multilingual store up and running.
The next step? Prioritizing which content you think is the most important and requires some manual editing or the help of a pro translator.
Weglot is multilingual SEO ready so you’ll be visible and indexed by search engines. Start with Weglot’s 10-day free trial to see how it can help your store translation.