What to consider when translating websites and webstores?

Translating a website or an e-commerce store has several steps which you might not have thought out before actually starting the project. I’ll be giving you a few tips in this post on how to get started and what to consider.

But first some statistics. Did you know that 9 out of 10 people  use websites in their own language if possible? In practice, this means that if you have your website translated to your target audience language and your competitors don’t, you will have a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, in the contrary situation, it is you who needs to step up their game. The lucky thing is that if you take the customer preferences as your starting point, the rest of the project will go down smoothly. And why wouldn’t you? After all, it has been suggested that  70% of a customer's shopping experience is based on how she feels she is treated.

Where to start the project?

So, how to start the first translation project of your website? First of all, map your customer journey, and start from the end. In the case of an e-commerce site, the actual buying functionality is a good way to start. Everything related to the actual buying event is the most critical for any buyer to understand. No one buys if they do not fully understand what they are paying for, and  when and how the goods will be delivered. Moving step by step backwards on the customer journey will ensure that you will be providing a delightful surprise for your customers, not a surprising disappointment.

Take changing content into account

One of the common mistakes done in translation projects is not preparing for the upcoming updates of the content. That is only natural: we tend to focus on things needing our current attention, not on future possibilities. And in some cases, even the persons in charge of the initial translation project are different people from the ones updating the content, so the need for frequent updates may not even be known.

A product catalogue is rarely a fixed and stable thing. And why would it be, as more than 75 percent of consumer search queries are brand new. As products are the core of what an e-commerce site is about, making sure that your product catalogue is up to date in all languages all the time is a key strategic enabler. Making the new product workflow will give you an agile edge to test what sticks in what markets.

Integrate translations to PIM & CMS to help you to maximise results

How to do that? The key is to go to the source of your product information and to keep that information in good shape. This means that, in any sizeable e-commerce, keeping your product information in a PIM system and making sure that your translations flow back and forth from there. Many e-retailers have noticed that if you plan to experiment in a multichannel environment on multiple markets, a good PIM makes your life easier. But you do not makesure that your translation workflow takes PIM into account, those benefits won’t get fully realised.

Naturally, not only products need to be kept up to date: new blog posts are essential for marketing; advertisingcontent should also reflect current needs; banners and call-to-actions on the front-page should be kept fresh, and so on. For these needs, integration to your CMS is an invaluable asset. No more manual emailing of Word and Excel documents between you and your translation agency: in the optimal case the integration will push all the new content automatically to translators and when it’s done, it will be put back in place. In some cases, with a translator you trust, there is a zero amount of manual work to get new content translated.

In short, integrations and thinking about your customers is crucial for ensuring that translations give you a competitive edge, not a headache. Interested in hearing how that can be done? Read more about our services on automation: Zero-click translations and our services for agile internalisation: Go To Market Service

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Anssi Ruokonen
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Anssi Ruokonen