When shopping online, who hasn’t run into product sheets that were near incomprehensible? Haven’t you, like me, refused to make a purchase at times because you were unable to sufficiently understand the details of the product you sought? Yes, translating your e-commerce product sheets in another language opens the door on new markets, but it is still important to make sure the sheets are translated well!
Is it really necessary to translate into other languages?
A benefit for internet users
Do you normally purchase products online in other languages than your own? Web users, regardless of their nationality, far and away prefer searching sites with content written in their native language.
What’s more, it is a way to show your interest in your foreign customers. A bonus for the brand image!
A necessity for site optimization
Don’t just copy your French product sheets on the English version of your site, for example. Google will analyze this as “duplicate content” which is a poor practice in terms of natural referencing.
So if you, like 52% of French e-commerce sites1, would like to export your e-shop articles abroad, it is time to get your sheets translated!
Into what language(s) should I translate my product sheets?
Translating product sheets for foreign language speakers
According to the June 2017 study by the FUNDREDES/MAAYA observatory on the languages and cultures of the Internet, the 10 leading languages of Internet users across the world are:
It is obviously useful to offer your site in English, at least, and ideally in the 3 most spoken languages across the world in order to access the largest potential market: an obvious connection between languages and the number of paying foreign speakers!
A strategic business decision
Where would you like to offer your products? In what regions of the world?
Starting from your market analysis, considering possible regulatory or logistical constraints, establish a list of countries that you would like to target.
From this list of countries, you can decide which languages will be necessary for your site.
5 tricks to translate my product sheets well?
1. Use tools which are adapted for creating multilingual e-commerce sites
No, it doesn’t help to start with tediously copying and pasting your hundreds of product sheets (before replacing them one by one with content in the target language).
Use dedicated software platforms that will allow you, thanks in particular to export and database management systems, to create an adapted and effective multilingual structure as regards natural referencing. Notable tools include: PrestaShop, Magento and Wizishop.
2. Translate everything!
If you decide to translate your online catalogue, it is worthwhile to translate ALL of the content on your site. Each product page should thus be translated into the target language, and so should every informational page, every message and even the drop-down navigation menus. All the information and technical sheets should thus be translated in their entirety to each available language. There is no room for partial translations, leaving a mixture of English and French in the English version of your site, for example. This will:
- discredit your company,
- obscure the overall meaning,
- lower customer satisfaction (poor customer experience),
- and thus, reduce potential sales.
3. Translation and localization
In order to be truly effective, adapt to your target markets - expressions, consumption habits, lifestyle, etc. Internet users are more likely to trust local sites than international ones. So, “localize” your website!
For your marketing approach, visual styles, delivery conditions, etc., adapt to your new markets.
As for the content, adapt the marketing hooks, monetary and measurement units, etc. A localization translation that only a specialized agency can provide will be an essential benefit for your business.
4. Think about natural referencing
Translating product sheets into each of your target languages is a real advantage when it comes to natural referencing.
Google will certainly appreciate the commercial efforts you went through, which will facilitate access to your products in each of the various countries.
So, for your SEO, literal translation of your keywords won’t suffice. For better pertinence and efficiency, localize your keywords with the help of a native speaking translator / interpreter in the destination language. Ideally use one who is an expert in SEO in order to benefit from their advice when defining the most appropriate terminology with the best impact for your SEO.
5. Qualitatively update your catalogue
In order to sell online, your products must be seen.
In order to be seen, you must have a good indexing from Google.
One of the keys to good indexing is updating with quality content.
Regularly update your catalogue with new products and new offers. Dynamic brands see a boost when it comes to Google’s algorithms.
Above all, provide content with real added value: real (!) product descriptions, nice photos, complete technical sheets, with rich content in ALL of your target languages!
Translating product sheets, but also the entirety of a website, affords a real opportunity for commercial development, as long as you seek the support of professional translation services. In order to maintain your company image and evaluate the real effects of your expansion into international markets, it’s better to have quality content in one single language (preferably English) than to offer poor quality translations in a multitude of unmastered languages.
1 2014 study by Oxatis and KPMG