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16 August 2023

Expanding E-Shops to International Markets: The Importance of Accurate Translations

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Almost every growing brand eventually reaches a point where its local "pond" becomes small. At such a time, thoughts of expansion beyond the borders of one's own country appear more and more often. And in the case of e-shops, it could be said that this is quite a simple matter. Or is it? Let’s take a deeper look.

Just buy a domain, they said…

When asked how to expand to the next market, more than one expert waves his hand and says: "Easy thing - you just buy a domain and that's it." However, expanding outside of your established market, particularly when you're operating a medium to large e-shop with an annual turnover in the tens of millions of crowns, is not as effortless as it may seem. And it most certainly does not end with a domain purchase. Apart from things like currency, legislation, warehouses, local support and analytics there is one more thing that makes the e-shop feel like home and drives repeated traffic: translations.

First hand experience from an e-shop spanning over 10 markets

In this article we present a firsthand experience of one of our clients, SANITINO, who specializes in the online sale of sanitary ware.

SANITINO currently operates in 10 markets, encompassing Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and Romania. Managing operations across such a wide range of markets requires significant attention and effort to ensure consistent and exceptional customer experiences. Translations are one of the things that fulfill this prerequisite.

Everyone is probably familiar with unsuccessful machine translations using automatic tools for web/e-shop administrators. Although these fulfill their purpose, sometimes, the translation just does not work for a native speaker. SANITINO therefore collaborates with partners in each country to ensure accurate translations of their content materials. They engage professional translators and native speakers who meticulously tailor the content of their e-shop, reflecting different national specifics, e.g. a different German language for Germany and Austria or multiple languages ​​in Belgium.

However, this process can be quite time-consuming, especially when dealing with a vast catalog consisting of thousands of items.

EEF to the rescue

A major help with this issue was the utilization of an EEF platform, which has implemented a number of mechanisms and functions to make the management of translation materials more convenient.The administration itself supports the translation of products, articles and other content components into different languages. Let's not forget that translations do not only concern the text itself, but also include product manuals, product images with text information, and so on.

"Basically, it works in such a way that if we add anything (series, brand, category,...) to the Czech website, it automatically 'falls into the queue' for translation for the designated markets. The same will happen even if we make any change (including products). For new products, it works in such a way that after three days have passed, since they are on the Czech website, it is possible to generate a 'batch' of news for the given language in CSV," says Katarína from the foreign department for SANITINO, adding that the file is then uploaded to Memsource /Phrase, where individual translators work on texts with the help of a translation memory. After that,the modified CSV file is reinserted into the administration and activated on foreign websites.”

Administration (Etnetera E-commerce Framework)

Wrong translations and their pitfalls

The process mentioned above enables SANITINO to leverage existing translations from partners and manufacturers while also adding their own manual translation and fine-tuning to ensure absolute control over the translated content. But why is it so important for e-shops to strive for this level of translation accuracy? Let's delve into the reasons:

  1. Miscommunication: Incorrect translations can lead to misunderstandings between the e-shop owner and the customers, resulting in confusion and dissatisfaction.
  2. Legal compliance: Translations of terms and conditions, privacy policies, and legal disclaimers must be accurate and legally compliant in each target language to avoid legal issues or customer disputes.
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO): Poor translations can negatively affect SEO efforts, as keywords and phrases must be accurately translated to ensure the e-shop ranks well in search engines in different languages.
  4. Technical terminology: If the e-shop offers products or services with specific technical terms, incorrect translations can lead to confusion. It is important to use accurate terminology that is commonly understood in the target market.

The above-mentioned factors can seriously impact the e-shop's success, lead to financial penalties and, worst-case scenario, even the e-shop's closure.

In conclusion

When it comes to expanding your e-shop beyond your local market, it's important to recognize that it's not as simple as just purchasing a domain. There are numerous considerations to keep in mind, such as currency, legislation, warehouses, local support, analytics - and translations. As an e-shop owner looking to tap into new markets, you'll need to ensure that your content resonates with your target audience in different countries. Collaborating with local partners and utilizing translation management platforms can help you achieve accurate and tailored translations, allowing your e-shop to drive repeated traffic, provide exceptional customer experiences, and establish a strong global presence for your growing brand.

Many thanks to Etnetera Core for the technical information about EFF and SANITINO for the opportunity to preview the translation processing processes on their e-shop.

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