How To Avoid e-Commerce Translation Mistakes?

How To Avoid e-Commerce Translation Mistakes?

Share on social media:

There are around 3.5 billion Internet users worldwide. As soon as you start thinking about how Internet speaks English anyway the numbers are here to confirm that you might be wrong: around 90% of European users claimed that they would always choose using a product in their native language and almost 73% confirmed that they are more likely to make a purchase when the service is offered in their mother tongue.

In the world dominated by the English language, it’s easy to forget that not everyone uses it on a daily basis. In fact, the people that do are the minority, not the opposite. And even though the world is going borderless, one thing is for sure: the international sales in e-commerce industry are expected to grow even more – and if you have an e-commerce, you should grow with them.

You will find obstacles standing in your way to that international success, but it doesn’t mean that you should give up straight away or even worse – create them for yourself! Knowing some first-hand examples we’ve listed some of the most common e-commerce translation mistakes and tips on how to solve them. To get yourself super-polished on this subject, just keep on reading!

e-Commerce Translation Mistake #1: Using Mismatched Translation Solutions 

The first choice for someone with little or no experience is usually overadvertised plugins that enable super-simple UI where you simply translate your content. You need to know that these are convenient only for small websites. What is a small website? One that has no more than 20 pages. Do you know any e-commerce website that has only 20 pages? Not really (sorry for so many rhetorical questions, but you get it).

When you manage a large translation project, like a thousand-pages e-commerce, using such a simple plugin would be a nightmare. Besides the obvious lack of compatibility on the size vs functionality field, a plugin cannot replace an advanced translation platform, which contains proper tools like Translation Memory, integrated Machine Translation and Terminology and project management capabilities.

An advanced translation platform includes a powerful TMS that includes dedicated tools designed for e-commerce website localization. Choosing a solution like this, you and your translators will be able to translate directly on your website, but without the hassle that these ‘little plugins with really simple UI’ provide. That’s the solution you must be looking for.

e-Commerce Translation Mistake #2: Neglecting Layout Manipulation Possibility

While traditional CAT tools offer comprehensive and professional tools for translators, it’s required to have a separate reference file to see the context of your document in order to understand the content of the translation project.

When you use an e-commerce website translation dedicated tool, it’s possible to translate in a traditional translation editor but translators can see when a translation will “break” a site’s design. At Text United, this function is carried out by our Overlay Editor that enables you to enter translations on top of your content.

Examples? A German text is often much longer than the original, so the translations can “spill out” of design elements like boxes or sidebars. But because translators are working on the page itself, they can see this issue right away and suggest a shorter translation that will fit. In the worst case, they can always identify specific areas that might need additional attention from a developer and point them out right away.

However, for small design changes such as resizing the font, and line width/height, the translator can make use of the segment editor which is available as an additional functionality when editing a text field.


Many e-commerce websites practice an inconvenient design workflow for localization. Instead of designing everything in HTML, designers will often embed text directly in images. This will result in additional work for images and banners. Text from there will need to be extracted in a separate file. Images will need to be redesigned again by your graphic designer. Video material should be transcribed and provided with subtitles.

e-Commerce Translation Mistake #3: Not Keeping Your Content in Sync

E-commerce websites are constantly growing and expanding (or at least they should!). In practice, it means that you may have 1000 products available today, but 1100 tomorrow. While adding new pages, sections and elements on a daily basis, you’ll want your localized version of the website in sync with the original one.

How to do that? With dedicated e-commerce translation tools, it should be as simple as visiting a link. At Text United, you do that through the Overlay Editor. If a product page is not part of the translation project yet, you’ll be prompted if you want to add this new page to the project and it will become instantly editable.


For big changes and multiple pages, the project manager can always rescan the whole website for changes and all selected pages will be updated with new content. New pages can be selected individually, too!

e-Commerce Translation Mistake #4: Not Choosing Professional Translators

As much as it sounds like a great, money-saving idea, using your internal team to translate your website content may not always be the best choice (unless they are professional translators). First of all, professional translators are specialists when it comes to language AND culture. They smoothly navigate through cultural differences and they know how to make your localized product feel native to the international audience.

While your English or Spanish-speaking office manager or sales assistant may be great speakers of their native language, they may oversee potentially offensive phrases and not be able to include that marketing message of your brand that you were thinking about for one week.

Any advanced translation platform has a specified team that makes sure to find the best and most experienced translators in every field. Thanks to that, clients with any industry-specific needs don’t have to do anything more than submitting their content for translation, sit back and wait until the translation project is completed.

At Text United, e-commerce translation can be done internally (within your team, if you still choose that option or you have the team of professional translators) or outsourced to one or few of our over 4500 verified translators.

Avoid The Mistakes – Let Your e-Commerce Grow Globally!



Translation experience made for you
Tailored solutions trusted by 100s of companies