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Top 5 E-commerce Localization Mistakes and how to Avoid Them

Author: Andreea Balaoiu

Top 5 E-commerce Localization Mistakes and how to Avoid Them

So far in our blog series dedicated to E-commerce topics (E-commerce Localization: How to Engage your Online Shoppers, E-commerce Content Localization Strategy and Top 5 Localization tips that will boost your E-commerce success), we have observed the positive impact that a full proof e-commerce content localization strategy can have on the growth and lifecycle of businesses. Let’s now focus on the ‘DON’Ts’ that you should avoid at all costs, in order to secure the momentum of your e-commerce success.

Avoid word-for-word, idiomatic, or metaphoric target language localization

Translating and localizing into a different language is not as simple as a,b,c, as it takes a deeper understanding of the multitude of cultural nuances and layers to get your message across. Within the e-commerce marketing framework, one notable example of ‘how not to’ translate into a different language is when dealing with translations into Asian languages, such as Chinese, requiring an extremely high level of accuracy.

China is well-known for being one of the most spiritual countries in the world, relying on profound Confucian teachings related to the body and soul. Let’s just say that KFC’s famous English slogan “Finger-lickin’ Good!” did not transfer well into Chinese, hinting at consuming one’s body parts in an utterly non-appetizing misconstrued translation: “Eat Your Fingers!”

Choosing a translation service provider that can add a deeper understanding of these cultural undertones to the linguistic aspect will not only favourably influence the translation of your message into a foreign language, but will also generate wider traction for your brand, making it resonate with the cultural framework and identity of the target audience.

Adhere to the linguistic regulations and key metrics of the target language

One relevant example of how adhering to domestic linguistic regulations of the target market can generate higher conversion rates for e-commerce brands is the case study of The Palladium Hotel Group, a popular Spanish resort operations chain.

According to, the marketing group that created strategies to bring about Palladium’s impressive conversion growth, their main challenge was “that content was not in the language native to the audiences they were targeting, and it was also missing critical pieces in the customer journey that were impeding them from ranking in search engine results.”

Also, a recent Common Sense Advisory Study reinforces the fact that “People worldwide prefer consuming information in their own language. Meeting this expectationand sometimes the legal requirements to do sofuels an indispensable global industry that continues growing due to global digital transformation (GDX),” comments Dr. Donald A. DePalma, CSA Research’s Chief Research Officer.

So, it is paramount that key elements within the customer journey, such as local date display, local currency and formats, check-out information, regulatory mentions not be forgotten, in order to render the e-commerce content localization as accurately and relevantly as possible, so that it feels as though it was created with the target market in mind.

Don’t forget to optimize your e-commerce translation for multilingual SEO

Search Engine Marketing and Optimization is a huge deal in today’s digital landscape, especially when it comes to the need for content to penetrate the desired target markets and reach the intended audience. Effective multilingual SEO/SEM strategies can be accommodated through translating your content into different language combinations, the more popular and high-ranking, the better, multiplying the odds of gaining higher ranking and better search results, which in turn generates more exposure for your brand.

You’ve probably heard of Neil Patel, named the ‘top web content influencer’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘1 of the top 10’ marketers by Forbes. In his Blog post, “How to Increase Your Traffic Through Content Translation”, Neil states that in just three weeks of translating the entire content of his website into 82 different languages, his traffic increased by 47%.

Implementing multilingual translation and SEO for his website content not only created more opportunities for people landing on his page to interact with the content, but also generated traction for indexed pages, as well as multiple queries in different languages, crowned by a dramatic increase in new and foreign users of nearly 60%.

This goes to show that in the long term, his search query impressions increased by an even greater margin, all pointing towards translating into a different language having very strong prospects for efficiency down the road.

Don’t deprioritize UNICODE integration

Unicode, formally known as the Unicode Standard, represents the information technology standard for  consistent encoding, representation, and handling of textual content in most of the world's writing systems across a wide range of platforms, devices, and applications.

To streamline your e-commerce platform outreach, you must make Unicode support a priority, as it is inextricably linked to the correct display of special characters or symbols in complex languages and calligraphies.

Don’t cheap out on ensuring a fully localized e-commerce customer service experience

Depending on the e-commerce platform you’re using, adjusting your approach to localization through a tailored customer service journey with the help of developers, e-commerce marketeers and sales strategists will certainly give its dividends.

Establishing localized e-commerce live chats, email support systems, or FAQ (frequently asked questions) threads delivered in the client’s languages will not only provide streamlined customer service, but also instill trust and increase the CRR (customer return rate) of your target audiences, who prefer to consume e-commerce content in their own language.

The Bottom Line

We have defined e-commerce content localization as the rendering of the entire content of an online business’s web platform and/or app, such as product descriptions, marketing material, legal texts, design and graphic elements or auxiliary material such as blogs, in-video, or social media content into the languages of target markets and geographies, aligning with the cultural, legal and commercial specificity of the locales, and have concluded that e-commerce plays a defining role in today’s sales ecosystem, with more and more businesses seeking to enter new markets and compete for supremacy.

AD VERBUM ranks highly on the e-commerce content localization landscape, offering a streamlined process ranging from project scale assessment, to source content extraction and implementation of client feedback, leveraging top-notch e-commerce minded native linguists, state of the art translation technologies, and a TEP workflow guaranteed to ensure quality at every step in the localization process. 

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