Shopify in Multiple Languages: Shopify Bilingual Theme

By Cesar Beltran


Shopify is going Bilingual.
Until now, there was no good solution for Shopify ECommerce store owners who wanted to show their website in more than one language.

It’s well known that this has been an oft-requested feature in Shopify for over 4 years.

The Bilingual Theme Is Now Available

In second quarter 2013, the first ever bilingual Shopify theme will be released by us here at Shopify Ninjas. Update: Now available here.

How It’s Going Bilingual

Our theme – currently in the final stages of developmentnow available – allows store owners to add content, product information, menus, navigation, and buttons, in two languages. A language “toggle” will allow your customers to switch between the two languages, anywhere on your website.

No more dual-websites. No more long pages with two languages on each. Finally, an elegant solution for dual languages on Shopify.

How Will Does It Work?

Don’t want to read? Watch this video:

You simply download the theme (or install it directly onto your store), choose your languages, set up your preferences in Theme Settings, and you’re done. You can start adding text content to your store across two languages.

Isn’t There Already A Solution For This?

The short answer is, until now, there were several ‘workaround’ solutions. You could create two separate stores on two separate domains, and a link between them. This is expensive and difficult to manage. You could also try the “Shopify Translator App”, but this does not work well in our experience. For example: if you’re on a product page, and click a different language, you are sent straight back to the home page (not the same product page), and have to find the product again. Not smooth.

Our theme will be is significantly smoother, and take users directly to where they want to be, in their chosen language.

What Else Can You Tell Me About The Theme?

The theme is fully responsive, so it adjusts for different screen sizes and devices (iPhone, iPad, etc). It will be good-looking, easy to customize, and have a bunch of clever features we’ve developed based on real requests from working on over 50 Shopify projects.

You can expect excellent support from us if you have challenges, as well as comprehensive and non-headache-inducing documentation so you can get your theme up and be running in a jiffy.

How Can I Get The Theme? I Want Multiple languages Now!

The Bilingual Theme Is Now Available

Enter your email below to join the VIP list and hear all the latest updates about the theme.

In the meantime, if you’d like a custom-build to support multiple languages, you can contact us before the theme is released.

We look forward to seeing how you use the theme to drive business across multiple languages!


Thank you for keeping up to date with our Shopify Insider Blog @ Blackbelt Commerce,  we have many other valuable and informative posts that will help you to continue to optimize your website such as 3 Ways To Increase Your Shopify Conversions,  3 Shopify design mistakes to avoid, Major Upgrade: bilingual themes,  and SEO For Your Shopify Store.

Gracias, merci, danke und ありがとう – The Team at Shopify Ninjas.

[Image Credit: Alohateam]

Questions? Please leave them in the comments below.

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Comments 31

  1. Awesome news!! I’d been itching to recommend Shopify to my clients with multi-language needs but have had to hold back many a time.

    Looking forward to it!

    1. Hi Jonathan, glad to hear you’re excited about it. So are we. Working hard on it now and looking forward to getting it out into the world. Thanks — Tristan.

      1. Hi, I am very interested on your theme and I want to purchase it. My only concern is my blogs. I want my blogs to be available in english and swedish.

  2. Does this mean that there this will work multi-country as well?

    Does this mean:
    1 – I can add multiple languages to one country related website (Ex. Adding Spanish to my US based English language .com)
    2 – Can I add multi-country / multi-language? (Ex. Have a store in Holland for customers in Holland at and add a German language site for German customers under

    Can the language drop-down also work to change to country relevant domain?

    Im hoping this change will allow for both options 1 and 2. Im afraid based on the language of your blog post you will only address option 1.

    1. Hi Christopher,
      Thanks for your interest & question. You are correct – it will only be number 1 above – adding multiple languages to one website.

      Managing multi-country and multi-language is a different ball game when thinking about cross-domains, redirects plus different languages. You could quite easily add a cross-domain link pointing to the other country’s home page in the website, but as you probably know, pointing to exact pages across multiple domains + languages would get very complex.

      To sum it up: Our goal for the theme is only to support #1 initially: having multiple languages on one store. I’ll keep your request in mind as a potential enhancement for future versions, though.

      — Tristan.

  3. Hi Tristan,

    Grat news to see you’re working an a multi-language theme.
    I’m assuming you’re still in the testing phase. Any idea yet when it will be released and how much it will cost? The Q2 deadline is approaching fast :).
    Also – I’ve read in your post that it’s customizable. Does that also mean I can change the look and feel of the theme?


    1. Hi Meret,
      Thanks for your interest. Yes indeed – we’re in the development & testing phase, working hard on it. The goal is still Q2 (30th June) to release it into the world. It will be a paid theme, between $100 – $250 like other Shopify themes. We’ll decide on the final price as we get closer to final release.

      It will be customisable for sure – similar to other Shopify themes, you’ll be able to adjust colours, layouts, menus and so on, without coding. There’ll also be a few new features that no other Shopify theme has (at least 3 firsts), but I’ll have to keep those under the hood until it’s ready to go 😉

      Feel free to sign up to our mailing list if you’d like to be notified when it goes live; otherwise feel free to pop back any time for the latest. Thanks – Tristan.

  4. I don’t think the theme will solve the real issue: which is one language only at checkout. Until Shopify wakes up, it will be tough to avoid shop duplication as the only solution. I will be happy to try the theme out though!

    1. Hi Luca,
      I see what you mean – it will be great if/when Shopify provides another way to solve the problem of having two languages on Checkkout.

      Personally, I think having two langauges separated by a slash is still a relatively good option. It’s not perfect, of course, but is doesn’t interrupt the user too much and is better than any other solution out there. Stay tuned.. the theme is soon to be released. Working on it like maniacs at the moment!
      Thanks for the comment.

    1. Hi Henrik,
      Yes indeed – it will be Javascript based. I’ll be releasing some more concrete details about it next week. SEO Options will work in with Shopify 2’s SEO system. You’ll be able to set your own Page & Description meta tags, and the actual on-page title that shows in the browser will be shown for the language you’re looking at. For example: if you’re viewing French, you’ll only see the French version of the title in the browser.

      More on Shopify SEO (which our theme will support):

      Hope that helps and stay tuned for more shortly.

        1. Hi Henrik,
          Thanks for the good questions. As it uses Javascript, there will be one URL only for each page/product/blog post etc. Both languages’ content will be stored on the same page. One language will be hidden using the JavaScript language switcher, so that users only see one language.

          Why this approach? Because, with the way Shopify’s inventory management works, if you wanted to have one unique URL for each language, you’d have to maintain and manage a double inventory. Essentially, you would need to have two versions of every product – one called ‘4-ports-switch’ and another called ‘commutateur-4-ports’, and Shopify would treat these as completely separate products. Our system will allow you to have only one set of products (much easier), and everything will be displayed on the one URL.

          Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks — Tristan.

  5. Great work guys! One thing I’d love to see is some screenshots of the admin area, and how that works with the languages. Are there extra fields for the languages on each product/article/page? Thanks!

    1. Hey Stephen,

      Thanks for your interest. Sure! There’s a specific section in the Admin area where you can enter translated text for the little ‘pieces’ of text that appear throughout your store, like “Cart”, “Login”, and so on.

      For products, articles & pages, this is done using tags. You write your content, then wrap them in some tags (this is really easy to do), and the theme will automatically show/hide the relevant language accordingly. So far, everyone who has downloaded the theme has been able to do this without any problems.

      Below, there’s a quick video explaining how it’s done, and also screenshots & guidelines for how the language setup works on the backend. Feel free to have a look 🙂 You can also ask any further questions here if needed. Here are the screenshots:
      “Theme Settings” section of the admin >
      Bilingual Setup:


    1. Hi Nils,
      Thanks for your interest in the Bilingual Theme.

      Our Theme is a template in and of itself, so if you decided to change in order to get the bilingual functionality, the look and design of your store will change to that of our theme’s design, your current design would no longer be visible.

      Unfortunately, because there are so many (hundreds of) places in a theme where we need to translate text, it’s not possible to just ‘add’ the bilingual functionality to an existing store. It’s built into the theme itself. We’re working on a solution for this – but at the moment, the manual effort required to ‘build in’ all the pieces would be too high in cost for most businesses.

      You can customize the theme to suit your business of course – just like with other themes – by adding your logo, changing fonts, changing colours, and so on. There are more details about exactly which theme settings are available for customisation here:

      If you change theme, you would not lose any pages, products or navigation, but you’d need to re-do the theme settings (logo etc).

      The other option is: We have customised some stores to look like an existing theme. Here is one example where we customised our Bilingual Theme to look like the “Minimal Theme” > (English/Spanish).

      Hope that helps to clarify. Once we have a solution for ‘adding’ bilingualism to an existing theme, we’ll be sure to post it here.. but until then, there isn’t an easy way to do it.

      Other questions welcome. Thanks — Tristan.

  6. Hi
    How does your theme handle good SEO for both languages?

    Can you set up Meta descriptions and page titles in both languages?

    And want about the URL, will that be in 2 languages?

    Best Lars

    1. Hi Lars,

      Glad to help. Here is a clarification of the SEO considerations in our theme:

      To answer your questions directly – yes, you can set up meta descriptions and page titles in both languages, but there is only one field in Shopify (and in Google for that matter). You would need to combine them. There is one URL for both languages (not one URL for each). Please check out the FAQ at the link above, that should help. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks — Tristan.

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