5 Detailed Steps for Translating Product Descriptions
by Elizaveta Naumov
April 16, 2014
We’ve talked about how important it is to have a multilingual store if you want to reach a wider customer base, both at home and abroad. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how to translate product descriptions.
1. Make a plan
Planning ahead can save you hours of work (and probably some money too). First, look at your current customers; are there languages that you are missing? For example, Hispanic customers are a significant market in the US that cannot be ignored.
Once you’ve identified your existing customer’s language needs it’s time to think about where you want to expand internationally. Are you going to offer all of your products to those markets or just your best sellers? If the cost of translating your entire catalog is not in your budget yet, you may think about offering a smaller selection for new regions.
2. Use the right tools
While you may think that translating product descriptions involves hours of copy/pasting, there are actually several solutions to make the process easier. There are many online platforms where you can upload your exported product catalog and have it translated by professionals. If you’re on a website-building platform like PrestaShop, Magento or WordPress, life is even easier – you can take advantage of the plugins that translate your product descriptions right from your store’s back-office.
We strongly discourage using automatic translation tools like Google Translate because they often lead to awkward wording and mistakes. For a professional website, human translation is the way to go!
3. Localize your product descriptions
As with the rest of your online store, you’ll need to localize your product descriptions so that the information is relevant to your target market. Make sure that you are using local currency, units of measurement and vocabulary.
4. Don’t forget SEO
SEO is a key component of translating your product descriptions, especially if your store is 100% online. It’s important to localize keywords, as the common terms for some products may not be word-for-word translations from your language. This is where human translation becomes vital – your translator will have the insight into what terminology is most commonly used and will have the biggest SEO impact.
5. Monitor and update your store
Translation is often not a one-time project. Your store will evolve, new products will be added and existing ones will be changed. It’s important to keep track of all these changes so that the information is consistent across all the languages of your site.
There is no shortcut to translating product descriptions, but when you follow the right process, it can save you a significant amount of time and effort.