Translating Your Shopify Storefront: A Real Life Assessment

By Cesar Beltran
TRANSLATING YOUR SHOPIFY STOREFRONT: A REAL LIFE ASSESSMENT created by Shopify developers

I need to translate everything in my shop – how do I do this?

Since releasing our Bilingual Shopify Theme for translating Shopify storefronts, we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this difficult problem and trying to solve it. The post below gives an honest assessment of some of the pros and cons of the three main options available right now.

Option 1: The Bilingual Shopify Theme

Since its introduction, this theme has been used to create stores in German, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.

The pros of this theme are:

  • Your customers are never sent back to the home page, and they’re never redirected to another site when clicking the translate button. The content translates instantly on the same page. This means your customers aren’t confused by being sent to another area of your website when clicking their language.
  • It’s easy to set up. One click and it’s installed.
  • No ongoing/monthly subscription costs.
  • Translates everything in your store (except for the checkout, which is a Shopify limitation).

Potential cons:

  • You don’t have a unique page for each language. [However… your customers can just choose their language on the page. It’s as easy as that.]
  • You’d need to adopt the design of our theme. [Which is customizable.  We’re also working on a way to integrate with existing shops.]

Overall: We believe it’s the most robust bilingual solution for Shopify out there.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BILINGUAL SHOPIFY THEME >


Option 2: The Translator App

The translator app can produce some decent results, for those willing to invest significant time in installing (and potentially paying a developer to set it up).

Pros:

  • Can look good & showcase your store in two languages
  • No need to install a new theme (works with your existing shop)

Cons:

  • Monthly subscription: Ongoing payment for as long as you need your shop in two languages, which will probably be forever.
  • You need to install code in 16 places to set it up. Can be complex for non-developers.
  • Sends customers back to the homepage whenever clicking the language button (not a smooth user experience).
  • Can’t translate blog posts, tags, page titles, or import data using CSV.

Overall: Can potentially be a solution for your shop, but requires a monthly subscription, complex installation and isn’t (in our opinion) the smoothest customer experience.

More information on the Translator App >

Click here for a comparison of the Bilingual Shopify Theme and the Translator App >


Option 3: Two different stores, one for each language

You create one individual website for each language.  The sites look the same to customers but are essentially two different sites.

Example of this (open both sites and compare) https://groovboard.co/ and https://groovboard.de/

Pros:

  • Looks good.  Can be customized individually by language.
  • Unique URL for each language / page
  • Can easily add specific content for each locale (e.g. VAT tax for European customers, US tax for English-speaking customers)

Cons:

  • You need to manage and pay for two Shopify subscriptions (unless you can negotiate with Shopify, which is also sometimes possible)
  • You need to manage two different inventories
  • You need to develop each site individually, which can be time-consuming
  • You may need to purchase multiple licenses, e.g. for using your Shopify theme twice

Overall:  If options #1 and #2 won’t work for you, and your inventory is small enough to be manageable in two different websites, this solution could potentially work for you.


Summary

We’ve worked hard to make our Bilingual Shopify Theme the most robust system on the market right now.  We firmly believe it’s the simplest solution for most businesses and the smoothest option for your customers.  Before you make your decision, it’s worth knowing and considering what options are out there.  We hope this post has given you a view of the three main solutions on the market right now.

(Click here to find out more about the Bilingual Shopify Theme)

Further reading:


Thank you for keeping up to date with our  Shopify Insider Blog @ Blackbelt Commerce. Check out our products. We also have some top blog recommendations for you to check out; How To Back Up Your Shopify Store and The Easy Upsell. Keep a lookout for new blog posts.

Questions? Fire away in the comments!

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