Tips for e-commerce translations

2020-05-05

If there's anything we can all agree on in these unusual times is that e-commerce is the hot new trend in the business world, one that shows every sign of continuing in a post-#Covid -19 world.

At Kobalt, we're seeing how the "pure players" are more active than ever, launching a slew of campaigns and special deals on a national and international scale to take advantage of this attraction, and there are even projects under consideration to strengthen their international presence.

The companies that are taking best advantage of this new paradigm shift are those that were better positioned before the crisis and had invested in their international presence. Companies that included a content and SEO strategy in their recent plans are now far better positioned to compete head-to-head with local businesses in each market.

We know that Google prioritises original content in its search results, so companies that invested in correctly localising their content have a leg up on those who opted for translations with a plug-in or who resorted to machine translation. The same goes for companies that (wrongly) thought that an English-language website could cover all markets. Google will always show the most useful results first and always in the local language.

But this doesn't mean that you should translate your website into every language or treat all content alike. It is essential to develop a localisation strategy that makes it possible to optimise the budget and invest in a smart way.

On the one hand, it's important to think about your company's strategic markets to then focus on those countries expected to generate the highest ROI. To that end, it's important to know the size of that market, the online purchasing penetration and identify your company's competitors.

On the other hand, you need to have an exceptionally clear content strategy and set priorities for their translation according to their importance on your e-commerce website. The text on a landing page will never be the same as user-generated content. Having a well-defined set of standards to underpin your strategy will make it possible to optimise the entire translation and localisation process.

Planning the entire process from the start saves many setbacks and issues as the project progresses. We always urge our clients to include us at the earliest possible stage of the project so that we can together set the criteria to follow. Much of the success of a single or multiple-language localisation project lies in the creation of the original content. We can ensure that that content will always be translated smoothly by following a series of guidelines. Unfortunately, quite a few companies contact their translation agency after the original content has been written and, in many cases, decisions have been made in the early stages that can be difficult to solve when expanding into other languages or markets.

E-commerce is going to play an increasingly bigger role and there are many lessons to learn from companies that have successfully implemented their international strategy.



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