Over the past few years, the amount of money spent by consumers online has skyrocketed. That is not a surprising fact, considering that the Internet and the wide variety of ecommerce sites make it possible to buy virtually anything online. In fact, ecommerce sales are expected to reach an incredible $4.5 trillion by 2021. If you own an ecommerce business, it would seem as though the sky is the limit. But that’s only true if you are maximizing your potential – and that means making your goods and services available to as many potential customers as possible. If you’re only focusing your marketing efforts inside the US, you are missing extraordinary opportunities. The Asia-Pacific market, for example, is one of the largest and most lucrative when it comes to ecommerce sales, not to mention Western Europe, the Middle East and many more.


What was once a pipe dream of small business owners – to expand their brand throughout the world – is now entirely possible thanks to the Internet and ecommerce. But you’ll never reach your potential customers around the globe if they can’t understand your website, which is why it’s so important to make your ecommerce site accessible and usable by all your target markets, no matter where they’re located or which language they speak. But translated content isn’t the only thing to consider. It’s important to remember that people differ in more ways than just language, including culture, politics, religious views and traditional values. When potential customers visit your website, you want them to not only understand the language, but also feel comfortable with the design, colors and images portrayed there. Fine tuning the content of a website to be appropriate for a target audience is called “localization,” and it’s just as vital to the success of your ecommerce store as translating the content.


Now that we’ve identified why it’s so important to translate and localize the content of your ecommerce site, it’s time to discuss the “how-to.” It may seem like a daunting task. And, truth to tell, if you were to try to translate and localize the content for every target market – even if you had the language skills and cultural knowledge to accomplish that – it really would be daunting. In fact, it would be next to impossible for one person to do. Fortunately, there is help available.


The first step is to contact a professional translating agency. Never rely on any form of machine translation device, software or app to translate your content. Machine translation is fine if you’re visiting overseas and talking to a local person to find a good nearby restaurant, but machine translations are not capable of understanding the nuances of language usage, much less cultural differences between groups of people. Only trained, professional linguists can provide those services. And the best way to find language and localization specialists is to utilize the services of a reputable translation company. They can match your needs with the services of an experienced professional translator. There is no substitute for that kind of expertise.


When deciding on the right translation agency for you and your ecommerce business, look for one with experience in translating ecommerce sites. They will understand the importance of not only translating text, but also other details – such as packaging translation, the appropriateness of images on the site and/or the product, correct currency exchanges, etc. Find an agency that has experience in your industry, if possible. Each type of business has its own jargon and particular language usage, and having a translator that understands that is a huge advantage. Finally, a good translation agency can do the vetting of your translator for you. It may be tempting to employ a freelance translator working on his or her own, but you have no way of knowing that person’s skill level or experience within your industry or with ecommerce sites in general.


If you own an ecommerce store, the future looks bright indeed! Just make sure you’re ready. The best place to start is with a professional translation agency.