Having product descriptions translated: 8 tips on what really matters

Frau beim Online Shopping

Whether you sell electronic devices, household goods or clothes, the product detail page is one of your online shop’s most important pages. To buy or not to buy? That decision is made on this page. The product description itself plays an essential role in this process – no matter what language it's in. So, what really matters when having your product descriptions translated?

 

Tip 1: Rely on specialist expertise

For your product descriptions to have the desired effect in a different language, you always need to work with an experienced specialist translator – one who is a native speaker of the target language.

Why is that? Because accurate translations aren’t enough. The style of the product text and the impression it makes is also important. The art lies in translating words creatively rather than one-to-one. This is especially true for product descriptions. Depending on the language, they often have to be adapted quite a lot so that they don't lose their effect.

 

Tip 2: Pay attention to content design and structure

This is important: Your customers want text that is easy to understand and easy to read. That's true in every language. And what makes a piece of text reader-friendly in every country?

 

  • Headings and subheadings
  • Bullet points, paragraphs and bold text
  • Key information at the start of the text

 

A high-quality product description should also contain all the necessary sales-related information plus images and videos in your chosen languages.

 

  • Product characteristics, such as ingredients, colour, dimensions, materials, etc.
  • Areas of application and intended use
  • How to use the product
  • Special features and benefits
  • Extras, attachments or accessories

 

Tip 3: Use short or long product text? It depends on the country!

Did you know that customers in different countries have certain expectations about the information content on product pages? While customers in China are used to long product descriptions and informative pages, Germans love short and concise copy.

Whether short or long: as a rule, high-quality texts and translations in e-commerce are essential. Online shop providers should therefore expand their content– regardless of the language. Even though you don't want to overload your pages, you can improve your online shop’s SEO ranking by using longer description texts and blog articles.

 

Tip 4: Focus on content performance, not keyword optimisation

Speaking of ranking, a few years ago, SEO (search engine optimisation) still revolved around keyword spamming – i.e. using a certain term as often as possible in the text. Today, however, the focus is placed on content performance.

Particularly when it comes to creating and translating product descriptions, you need to know that:

  • High-quality, unique content is the name of the game.
  • Long text with phrases, synonyms, related search terms and even similar topics is an advantage.
  • Content should offer the user real added value.
  • You need to understand the search intention and structure your text accordingly.

 

Tip 5: Send translators your style guide(s)

Experienced translators work best with the aid of style guides and guidelines. This helps them match the wording in your product descriptions to your other marketing text, such as newsletter promotions or banners, and ensures that your brand language is consistent.

By way of example, style guides define elements such as forms of address, the use of punctuation marks and how marketing terms should be written.

 

Tip 6: Use the correct terminology

For product descriptions to be translated successfully, you also need to make sure that specialist terms are used correctly and consistently. Otherwise, readers will feel like the translated product text is inaccurate and difficult to understand.

In concrete terms, this means:

Knowledge about your terminology is a basic requirement for a high-quality translation.

So make sure you hire translators who are specialised in the field of your product.

Remember:

As well as using the correct terminology, you should always adapt the currency and units of measurement to local standards when describing your products.

 

Tip 7: Provide product images or actual merchandise

Translators always need a visual reference if they are to translate your product descriptions as effectively as possible. Sending them pictures, videos or even the products themselves are all ways to achieve this.

When a specialist translator knows the unique texture of your product, or the colour and specific materials used, they can translate your detailed product text with conviction. After all, as we said at the start, a basic one-to-one translation just won't cut it.

 

Tip 8: Four eyes are better than two

Wherever possible, you should always use the four eyes principle, or two-person rule. This means that the initial translation is checked by an expert proofreader. In addition to checking the specialist translation thoroughly in the respective language, the proofreader can also make stylistic adjustments.

Read more about how product description translations affect your success here!

We’re always happy to advise you, free of charge and without obligation.