Better. Consistent. More informed. Highly personalized. These are just four ways to describe the shopping experience you’ll be able to provide if you sell in multiple languages.
Running a multilingual Shopify store will benefit you in other ways as well: you’ll increase your market share and popularize your brand globally. In addition, offering localized content builds your credibility and makes international buyers feel closer to your brand and products. All leading to a substantial increase in revenue.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the new Shopify multi language feature, why it’s important to choose a translation app that is native to Shopify, and what makes our Translation Lab so powerful.
What you'll learn
- Everything you need to know about the new Shopify multi language/Store Languages & native translation apps
- How you can make the most of our Translation Lab
9 things Shopify merchants need to know about selling in multiple languages
1. You need to install a translation app that works with the Shopify Store Languages. At this time, there are only 5 such apps on the Shopify App Store and we’re proud to say that Translation Lab is among them. See all supported third-party apps
2. Your theme must be compatible with the feature. All free Shopify themes meet this requirement. Note that you may need to upgrade your theme. This is particularly important because themes which have not been updated to support the Shopify Store Languages will normally use relative URLs in their liquid code like /checkout, /cart, etc. And these will not work if someone is browsing your website in a language different from the default. Themes need to use the new routes liquid object when outputting various internal links.
3. If you’re on a Shopify plan, you can add up to 5 additional languages to your store. If you’re on a Shopify Plus plan, you’ll be able to translate your store into 20 languages. Read more: Selling in multiple languages
4. After you publish a language, customers will be able to browse your store and check out in that language. When you publish a language (or a locale), unique URLs will be automatically created for all translated pages in your store. For example, if your domain is www.my-shopify-store.com, the following URL will be automatically created when you add German to your store: www.my-shopify-store.com/de. If you unpublish the German locale, all /de links in your store will become 404-redirects.
5. Currently, Shopify doesn’t support different domains for different languages/locales. Read more: Support multiple languages in apps and themes
6. Shopify automatically adds meta and hreflang tags to help Google (and other search engines) detect the different languages and index the localized pages in your store faster. Read more: Selling in multiple languages, URLs and SEO
7. Your website Sitemap is generated in the primary language of your store and cannot be translated.
8. There are certain limitations you need to be aware of. For example, the search function on your website searches only in the store’s primary language, product, article, blog tags cannot be translated, etc. Read more: Limitations of selling in multiple languages
9. Here's a list of all resource types and fields that can be translated:
It is important to understand what part of your theme is available for translation. When you add a new language, Shopify will go through the locale files in your theme and make all strings there available for translations. Any section settings of type text that you might have in your theme (regardless of where they are located, they could be located in different files) will also become available for translation. This means that image picker settings will not be translatable. In other words, you will not be able to add different images for the different languages. But this can be worked around with a text setting which takes the path of the image from the image picker and then having this setting translated (specify a different image path for each language).
On the importance of choosing a translation app that is native to Shopify:
- They are integrated with the Shopify Translation API and work seamlessly with Shopify’s new multi language feature.
- The translated resources are kept in Shopify, not in separate cloud systems. Simply put, this means that there’s no external backend that can crash or slow down your website.
- Your theme liquid files aren’t changed at all.
Currently, there are 5 native translation apps on the Shopify App Store:
- Translation Lab - ✰4.7 (48 reviews as of March 18, 2020), Free plan available, Pro plan: $9.99/month
- Polyglot Translate - ✰5.0 (2 reviews as of March 18, 2020), $17.50/month, 7-day free trial
- Translate My Store - ✰4.5 (31 reviews as of March 18, 2020), Free, Works with Kit
- Langify - ✰4.8 (921 reviews as of March 18, 2020), $17.50/month, 7-day free trial
- LangShop - Language & Currency - ✰4.8 (155 reviews as of March 18, 2020), $34/month, 14-day free trial
Now that we’ve covered what you need to know about Shopify multi language, why it’s important to choose an app that works natively with the feature, and what are your options (for such apps), let’s take a closer look at Translation Lab.
6 things Shopify merchants need to know about Translation Lab
1. As mentioned above, Translation Lab is on Shopify’s list of supported third-party translation apps. This means that it works natively (i.e. seamlessly) with the Shopify Store Languages.
2. Translation Lab works with every Shopify theme. If the theme is compatible with the Shopify Store Languages, no extra code is added.
If the theme doesn’t work with Store Languages, a language switcher liquid snippet will be automatically added to your theme.liquid once you install Translation Lab. Whether you choose to include the language switcher snippet in your theme header or anywhere else is up to you. The process of doing this is described in the app’s admin panel.
3. Shopify supports more than 130 languages and any of these can be added to your store and managed through Translation Lab. Just a reminder: Shopify allows only 5 languages to be published at the same time (if you’re on a normal Shopify plan). If you’re on a Shopify Plus plan, you can add up to 20 different languages to your store.
That being said, you can add, publish, unpublish, and disable/delete languages from the Languages dashboard of the app’s admin panel.
If you unpublish a language it will no longer be visible in your store but your translations won’t be lost and you’ll still be able to manage it within the app (including publishing it again in one click).
4. Translation Lab allows you to translate all content resources including the checkout, menus, buttons, and more. No coding skills are required to translate and manage these resources.
5. Translation Lab is compatible with all major SEO apps including Smart SEO.
6. Translation Lab has а free plan which includes language management, translatable resource browser, and manual translation.
It also has a paid plan ($9.99/month) which includes everything in the free plan, plus:
- Click translations - you can translate a single resource with the click of a button.
- Automatic translations - you can translate all strings for a certain translatable resource type (for example all products) automatically. Note: Both the click translations and automatic translations use the Google AI with neural network support for most of the languages. For the past 15 years Google’s AI has been the standard in automatic translations and this is why Translation Lab makes extensive use of it.
- Export translations - export any resource type (products, collections or theme-specific resources) into a CSV file format.
- Import translations - automatically import translations from a CSV file.
With the new Shopify Store Languages (multi language support) you no longer need to run multiple shops (one for each language) or install complex apps which change your theme and store the languages translations in their own backend. Multi language is now native to Shopify and it has never been easier to expand your brand reach and tap into new markets.
So, which supported third-party translation app are you going to use? If you decide to go with Translation Lab, we would love to hear your feedback. Also, feel free to ask us anything about the new Shopify multi language feature. And if you’re already running a multilingual Shopify store, we’d like to learn about your experience! Just leave a comment below!