The biggest mistakes when translating online stores and how to avoid them


Ecommerce sellers are increasingly catering to a global audience, giving rise to the need of creating international stores and handling global shipments. However, when it comes to the adaptation of stores for international markets, sellers continue to face huge challenges. 

The good thing about an ecommerce business is that it can reach customers all over the world, without having to open a store in a new place. However, many merchants believe that it is enough to translate their website with Google Translate to get new customers for their online store. After a few weeks, without having registered an international sale, they wonder why it has not worked.

To avoid this situation, we present tips from established Language Service Providers (LSPs) that will help you deal with the translation of your online store and the mistakes you should avoid making in order to successfully cater to a global audience.

  1. Use automatic translation tools

This is the most widespread mistake and the one that business owners make the most when they want to translate their online store or their company’s website. Even though Google has improved its translation tool, there is a long way to go, especially when it comes to more complex languages.

We recommend you always turn to people who are professional translators. They are not only trained to convey the style and tone you want, but also to understand the context. This is especially important when it comes to certain phrases and ambiguous words, since these can completely change the meaning of your sentence.

  1. Incomplete translations

When setting up your online store, you work hard – content, design, customer experience in order to convince your store visitors to buy something. Why shouldn’t each language version of your store be as effective as the original?

If you only order the translation of a couple of pages (eg the description of the products) and leave the other pages in the original language, you are giving visitors another reason to leave the shopping cart as is and leave the store.

As for the translation of an online store, it is decisive to translate everything from the most important elements – homepage, product descriptions – to the least important, such as menus, titles and footnotes. If you make your online store available to your customers in their language, it not only makes it easier for them to navigate and obtain information, but also helps in creating a strong relationship of trust – a decisive factor for online shoppers.

  1. Your store is not updated

You have translated your shop, great! However, this does not mean that you can now disregard everything else. Translation is a progressive process. After all, your store will be constantly changing. Have you included new products? Is there a special promotion on your homepage? Have you changed your shipping policy?

If you make changes to your online store or add something, you have to make these changes in the other languages too, so that your visitors find the latest information.

  1. The design has not been checked

English, when compared to other languages ​​such as German or French is more concise and less structured. Therefore, the design of your website in English may seem perfect, but don’t assume that this will also be the case when importing your translations.

The most important items you should check are the navigation menus, titles, footers and input masks. It is possible that the text appears cut or jumps to other sections of its pages. An experienced translator can help you in this kind of a situation. They can, for example, use shorter synonyms or formulate the phrases in another way so that they fit in the place you want.

It is also important to check the design of your website when you include new products or special promotions.

  1. Translating your website for the sake of it

The pages of your website and your product catalog are probably the bulk of your translation project, but it’s not everything! What happens to your newsletters, customer service and automated mails? These forms of communication can be decisive for a positive or negative customer experience.

Advertising newsletters: With these newsletters you can nurture leads and turn them into regular buyers. That is why your translation should be as accurate as possible, maintaining a style that has an effect on local customers.

Customer service emails: These are customer problems, so accuracy and anticipation are decisive for customers. Imagine the dissatisfaction of a customer who contacts the customer service regarding delay in the delivery of an order and receives a message in another language or a message translated by a program, containing incorrect information.

Automated emails: These emails contain information about the records, invoices, delivery times and the rules of returns. This is very important information for customers that necessarily has to be translated and localized to gain trust and ensure loyalty.

Tip: beyond translation

Finally, we want you to reflect a little. The goal of translating your online store is to establish a connection with your target group in a new region. When translating your website into a local language, it is extremely important that you think locally and take into account the culture and customs of the customers. Regional holidays, currencies, forms of expression and buying behavior are important elements that you should integrate into your multilingual online store.

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