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Shopify’s new translation app, Translate and Adapt, aims to make it easier for merchants to trade cross-border. However, there are a few things to consider. […]

Photo: Shopify

Shopify wants to make it easier for retailers to be present on the international market with a new translation tool. The “Translate & Customize” app allows users to translate information about products, article categories, blog posts, policies, and other content into different languages. This can be done manually or automatically.

In the app’s editor, the content is displayed in its original version, which reflects the store’s default language; Dealers can then add their translations there. Companies can manually enter the translated texts into the system or have them produced at the push of a button by the Google Cloud Translation API. Before publication, the resulting texts must be checked again for correctness.

Since most consumers prefer to buy in stores in their native language, the translation of store content offers great opportunities, especially for international companies, but some challenges remain. An authentic approach, adapted to the target market, is essential. The app also offers machine translation capability for retailers who don’t want to focus their capabilities on country-specific customization of their content.

Automated translation of store content

If you want to use automatic translation, make sure that all languages ​​to be translated to are added to the store. Because Shopify wants to avoid overwriting content that has already been translated, it’s only possible to apply automatic translation to empty fields.

The translations also allow retailers to make country-specific customizations in their respective stores. Regionally used spellings and item descriptions, as well as placing ads with a local reference, tailor stores to local and regional characteristics.

Shopify states on its website that legally binding texts, such as policies, are not automatically translated. These must be created manually. The company also advises traders to have these texts created by professional translators to get the most accurate translation possible.

Advantages and disadvantages of the app

The “Translate & Customize” app is compatible with other third-party translation apps through the translation API used. Using the translation app therefore offers a number of advantages for retailers.

However, it does not work without limitations. The app cannot process a range of content, such as third-party app content that is incompatible, as well as images and videos. Also, tags and URLs can’t be translated into other languages ​​using the Shopify app.

In addition, some languages ​​are not available: the app cannot provide translation services for a total of 16 languages. Below: Arabic, Bengali or Hebrew. In addition, the translation app is probably not yet universally accessible.

Shopify states on its website that the feature is in the “early access” process and therefore “only available to certain merchants”. The company gave no further details.

*Aylin Bonn has been doing an internship at INTERNET WORLD since February 2022. The studied cultural anthropologist is especially interested in the themes of sustainability and new communication technologies.

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