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E-commerce translation for other platforms

Whilst much of our e-commerce translation work is for existing websites, increasingly we are also being asked to translate e-commerce content for other platforms. Even large brands can struggle when setting up a new e-commerce website in a different country. In their own territory they may be well known, and people will search on their brand name, however in a new territory where they aren’t known, how can they raise brand awareness sufficiently to gain e-commerce sales?

One possible approach is to translate an existing UK e-commerce site, and then to add the foreign language content to that site. There are some advantages here:

1) Uses a single domain, with existing domain age and authority. Particularly where a domain is well established, and ranks well in search, this is a big advantage.

2) Utilises existing hosting, so easier to administrate. If you use the same web developers, they are working with the same hosting provider. If you set up a completely new domain, it will also require separate hosting.

3) There are cost savings in using the same domain and hosting.

Disadvantages of a single site are however not to be underestimated:

1) If your existing site ranks well in search in the UK, there is no guarantee that translated content will also rank in your intended target markets.

2) Google especially is focusing on serving “local” results, which are viewed as likely to be more relevant. This means that for example “thepatentwidgetcompany.com/francais” (i.e. French content on a .com domain hosted in the UK), is not likely to rank as well as “thepatentwidgetcompany.fr” assuming all other factors are same same. The search engines will view the .fr as a French domain, if there are other cues such as a French address and phone number, and in-country hosting in France, the .fr will probably significantly outperform the .com.

One possible solution to this problem, is to “piggy-back” on the success of another website. There are many good examples of e-commerce platforms which have good brand awareness in other countries, and on which it is possible to sell directly. For example you could sell products via international versions of the Amazon or eBay platforms.

Translation for the Amazon platform:

We can work directly in Excel, translating information which can be directly uploaded to Amazon in the target country.

Our translators use translation memory, which allows them to commit to store and retrieve phrases already translated, thereby allowing us to discount for repetitions.

Amazon has a strong presence in a number of countries, but do your research, they aren’t universally the strongest brand, just as no individual search engine is dominant worldwide. There are territories where Amazon doesn’t have their own site, and other countries where there may be stronger competitor brands. However Amazon can be a good choice in many countries, and it is relatively easy to sell on an overseas version of the platform, particularly if you are all already selling on the site in the UK.

Translation for eBay:

Much like for Amazon, we can translate content for eBay product descriptions, and even supply full eBay shop translations. eBay does not have equal prominence in all territories however. I have just looked at a number of international versions of eBay, and as of July 2014, they have sites in France, Belgium and Spain (amongst many others), but not Holland.

Advantages of selling on another platform

The power of selling on a platform such as eBay or Amazon, is that  you leverage the power of that brand in a given overseas market, this can help especially if you want to test the water with a limited range of products, before deciding to commit to your own e-commerce site in another country. It is however important to remember that you need to research the strength of a particular platform in your target country. Exporters sometimes consider these sites expensive, due to the fees they have to pay, but you need to consider this against the marketing pull that exposure on their site gives you. Setting up a new e-commerce site from scratch can be much more expensive than the fees you will pay a platform like eBay or Amazon.