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Translation Strategy for International E-commerce Success

Written by Max Riis Christensen

One of the more obvious barriers to international e-commerce is the translation of product texts. 

In many industries, a steady and continuous flow of new products requires an equal amount of translation. It is therefore important for international webshops to develop a strategy regarding the translation of product texts.

What we have learned

At first glance, product text translations might seem like a simple task, but we have worked a lot with product translations over the years, and we have grown wiser along the way. Product translation is not a simple task.

First of all, you need to develop a strategy which ensures a healthy ROI on your translations.

How you do that depends on a lot of factors:

  • Your industry
  • Your competitors
  • The complexity of your products
  • Online marketing and SEO strategy
  • The language of your target market

Things to consider

Your product texts and whether or not you choose to translate them, will not only affect consumers' ability to read about your products. It will also impact your ability to sell them.

Take Google Shopping, for example. 

Your ability to sell products via Google Shopping is influenced by your onsite translations. Google Shopping will only be possible to use if your texts are either displayed in the local language or in English. 

For some, English might be the obvious choice. Having your product texts in English allows a certain degree of flexibility due to its widespread usage, but if the product complexity is high or the target group in the new country is uncomfortable with English, it may influence the conversion rate negatively.

Another thing to consider is the turnover of the products you sell and whether they generate enough revenue to justify a translation in the first place. Perhaps an option is to translate only part of your products?

Finally, you will also need to consider the possibilities or limitations offered by your e-commerce platform. Are you able to change the way sizes or colours are displayed on your website? Can you use database fields with product data to reduce the cost per product translation? How will the SEO traffic be influenced if you only translate the title and the description, but not meta texts?

If you are in doubt about the right way to go, you are welcome to contact us for a chat about your translation strategy.


Max Riis Christensen

Max, the CEO at MakesYouLocal, specialises in cross-border e-commerce. His expertise encompasses building business cases, developing rollout strategies, and ensuring successful international launches. With a vast network and a track record with renowned companies, Max is instrumental in helping brands succeed abroad.


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