The guide to managing global ecommerce content

Your website may contain hundreds of pages of content, especially if you have thousands of products. When you go global, you may think you’ll have to translate everything at once, but in fact, the opposite is true. What you need is an efficient way to prioritize which content gets translated first, and which content needs more attention than others.

Static vs. dynamic content

There are two types of content on your site: static and dynamic. Static content includes website navigation and buttons. Dynamic content includes product descriptions, blogs and any other content that needs to be regularly updated.

So-called static content forms the framework of your site, and often appears on every page. Because this content changes rarely, and is very visible on your website, it should be treated slightly differently. This content should always be translated at a high level and quality assurance checked before launch. Dynamic content, however, comes in all shapes and forms. It’s important to keep in mind the types of dynamic content, and how to manage your translation accordingly.

Understanding types of dynamic content

Product pages: The vast majority of ecommerce content is likely in the form of product pages, and it might be such an overwhelming amount that you’ll be tempted to use machine translation. Don’t. You’ll likely damage your search ranking, which can be a long, difficult and expensive problem to repair. Instead, you can keep costs to a minimum (and return on investment to a maximum) if you put a system in place that tells your translation company which product pages to translate first based on when they reach a predefined sales threshold.

User reviews: Never underestimate the power of user reviews to influence and speed up the buy cycle. They are invaluable! Translations of user reviews can be indispensable to creating your local foreign presence by creating a sense of trust and having SEO benefits. But you don’t need a high-end professional translator for these—if they sound too polished, it could actually work against you.

Marketing copy, emails, offers, blog posts and press releases: Creative copy and careful brand messaging are required when it comes to content marketing, and that requires translators who not only understand the words, but also the theory behind them. You’ll need to balance the need for quick turnaround with high-quality translation, so ask your translation company what you can do to help minimize turnaround time.

Landing pages: If you use a lot of landing pages for categories and product descriptions, you’ll likely need high-impact marketing copy as well as more search engine optimization (SEO)-driven copy. This requires a highly-skilled translator for the marketing part, but less skilled translation for the more basic SEO sections. Ask your translation service about the best way to do both effectively.

Customer support: Support tickets can be answered by a native speaker on your customer service team, or you can set up translation integration with your support ticketing system. Some companies translate incoming messages via machine translation, but use a human translator for outgoing messages.

Help your translator out

  • Create a content style guide that includes company-specific information about the company profile, brand voice, tone or requirements around character limitations.
  • Create a translation glossary of your most commonly used brand terms to ensure that, in each case, they are translated consistently. This protects your brand, guides the user, and helps your translator.
  • Create an accessible data feed for product content. This allows your translator to more easily translate content, and allows local markets to integrate the feeds into product comparison sites.

The best practice is for all your content to be translated at the appropriate quality level, and for you to be able to push through however much content you need, at any given time. Whatever translation service you use, it should follow the demand and targets of your ecommerce site—not the other way around.

Is your ecommerce company fluent in the language of success? Learn to choose your target markets, how to approach ecommerce content translation, and how to structure your international website with our free download, Going Global: Ecommerce Best Practices.


Lauren Van Mullem

The author

Lauren Van Mullem

Lauren assists in content production for Gengo's marketing team. As a former food and travel writer, she has experience communicating with all kinds of people from around the world and believes in celebrating different cultures through understanding them.

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