Guide

How to Add Multiple Languages to Shopify

Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed by
Elizabeth Pokorny
How to Add Multiple Languages to Shopify

As a Shopify store owner, you’ve probably, at some point or another, thought about expanding your reach and selling internationally. After all, it’s guaranteed to help you sell more. Perhaps you’ve even already started that journey by offering international shipping?

But, when it comes to localizing your offering for different countries all over the world, one thing’s for certain: if buyers can’t explore your products or services in their native languages, they’ll likely abandon your storefront.There’s no point in offering your products in cross-border markets if language barriers stop you from hitting your conversion goals.

It’s easy to be complacent and presume that English dominates the web. In reality, however, most of the online searches are conducted in languages other than English…and actually, English-speaking users make up just 25% of the Internet’s users.

So, why should you be concerned about searches being conducted in other languages? Simply put, if your online store isn’t in the language your potential customer is searching in, you won’t appear in search results…which means they won’t find you!

The organic channel is a key growth driver for new markets, and you need to localize your Shopify.com store and offer your store content in your target users’ preferred language(s) to win it.

In this guide, we’ll look at how you can easily translate the whole of your Shopify store within minutes using translation app Weglot, and how it takes the hassle out of Shopify translation.  

Note: If you’re more of a “learn-by-doing” type of person, sign up for our free trial, where you can start translating your website immediately, or check out our product tour to see Weglot in action, no sign-up required.

How to Translate Your Shopify Store

There are a number of ways to translate your Shopify store from its default language, let’s take a look at the options and which one is best for your ecommerce business.

Option 1: Shopify Markets

Shopify has an option for displaying multiple languages on your Shopify store through Shopify Markets, however, there are a few requirements to be met:

  • The Basic Shopify plan or above
  • A compatible theme that allows you to sell in multiple languages
  • A theme that comes with a language selector
  • Carry out the translation of your store yourself
  • Add the Shopify Translate & Adapt app (or add a Shopify translation app, not that Weglot is also compatible with Shopify Markets)

While there is a native solution, there are still several manual steps involved with the Shopify Translate & Adapt app, in particular, you will need to provide the translations if you require more than 2 languages on your store. Other limitations include:

  • Tags including product tags, article tags, and blog tags can’t be translated
  • Full URL slug translation not available
  • URL slugs can’t be customized

Option 2: Create Multiple Stores

Another option is to create separate stores for each market. Here you’ll end up with multiple stores with this option. The primary problem here is that it’s challenging, costly, and time-consuming to maintain and manage multiple stores.

Imagine having to add new products, manage inventory, and make updates across so many stores!

And, doing so doesn’t even solve the problem of how you’d translate the words on your ecommerce store, because you’ll still need to provide the translations for all the content and products you have on your current Shopify store for each.

In fact, this was exactly Angell Mobility’s dilemma when wanting to launch the website for the MINI E-Bike 1 they designed and distributed. They were thinking of setting up multiple websites on Shopify per target country. But their Shopify agency, Stellar Projects, found an easier way.

MINI's website by Angell & Stellar after installing Weglot to add multiple languages to their Shopify store

After adding 3 languages to their website using Weglot, half of their sales became international. Even better, since Weglot automated a bulk of the process, they saved 50+ hours on website translation—hours that they spent on more cognitive tasks that pushed their growth.

Option 3: Use a Shopify Multilingual Theme

A misconception when creating a multilingual Shopify store is that you’ll just need to pick a theme or template that’s multilingual-ready and comes shipped with a language switcher.

This is actually not correct. It might look like a good idea at first, but many of these themes are pretty basic in their functionality, and some only allow you to translate your store’s content and not your checkout or any other system messages.

Plus, multilingual Shopify themes don’t support automating the language translation process. There’s also a lot of manual work involved. You’ll need to translate all of your plain text and HTML manually.

Shopify’s templating language, Liquid, controls the on-screen appearance of your website. You’d need to be careful to only translate the text around Liquid and not Liquid’s tags, filters, or objects. If you do, you can completely break your store’s functionality.

While it’s possible to use a multilingual Shopify theme, its manual translation drawbacks can be pretty problematic. This can be worse when your store is already up, needing you to revisit every single element to add language translations.

Option 4: Use a Multilingual Shopify App

The easiest and most complete way to translate your Shopify store is to use a multi-language translation app. You won’t need to duplicate your Shopify store, and you won’t need a multilingual theme either.

Adding multiple languages to your store using an app such as Weglot is simple. With Weglot, you can add more than 110 different languages to your online store, including custom languages, within minutes.

It not only takes care of detecting and automatically translating the whole of your Shopify site (including Shopify checkout and email notifications), but it also handles multilingual SEO of your newly translated store (right from hreflang tags to sitemap settings), so it’s optimized for international search engines.

With Weglot, it’s just a case of installing the app, rather than looking for and configuring a new theme or having to go through the tiresome process of creating a bunch of localized stores.

Adding Multiple Languages to Your Shopify Store

As we mentioned previously, there are no special requirements needed to add new languages to your Shopify store with Weglot.

Using Weglot’s automatic translations, you can provide your customers with translated content in as many languages as you would like and get full editing control and fine-tune your translations manually (if you need).

Using Weglot means that 100% of your Shopify store is translated, and that includes everything from your drop-down menus to your full checkout flow. Your store can go from speaking English to being fully conversant in Spanish with just a few clicks!

Polaar's increase in website visibility after adding multiple languages to their Shopify store through Weglot

That’s what French skincare brand Polaar did—they added 2 languages to their Shopify store through Weglot. The result? Hundreds of hours were saved and their US website traffic doubled.

“We spend 70% less time on website translation,” said Sophie von Kirchmann, the brand’s E-store Manager. “Weglot automatically translates and publishes all modifications on our multilingual pages.” When you have hundreds of product listings to maintain, having software that automatically translates and displays them for you definitely makes things easier.

So let’s take a look at this most straightforward way to add multiple languages to your Shopify store.

1. Find Weglot on the Shopify App Store

Search for Weglot inside Shopify’s App Store, click ‘Add App’, and then hit ‘Install.’

Install Weglot on the Shopify App Store

2. Create a Weglot Account

The next step is to create a Weglot account (this is where you’ll manage your store’s translations). It’s also at this point that you can start your 10-day free trial.

Dashboard register page for Shopify users

3. Add Your Languages

Next, add the original language of your website and the new language you want to add to your Shopify store.

Add languages to your Shopify store

4. Your Shopify Store is Now Multilingual!

That’s it! Your Shopify store is now available in multiple languages. Visit your store to see Weglot in action, or select ‘Go to Weglot app settings’ to change the look and position of your language switcher and move its position such as into the header for better UX. Everything on your store is translated including your checkout page.

Your website is now multilingual

For improved SEO optimization, the final step is to set up language-specific subdomains or subdirectories. Doing so is quick and easy and will allow you to be even more searchable by your new potential audiences. Check out the final step here.

Nikon customer testimonial after using Weglot to translate their website

Managing Your Shopify Store Languages

One of the easiest things about Weglot is how you can manage and customize your translations.

Weglot offers a fast first layer of automated translation, which is perfect for translating at scale. For example, when you need to translate thousands of product pages that you have on your Shopify store at once.

You can then manually edit those translations.

Weglot offers 2 different ways to edit your translations. The first way is through your Translations List inside your Weglot Dashboard, where you’ll see the languages side-by-side.

List of translations

The second is a more visual approach: Weglot’s Visual Editor. Here, you can edit your translations through a live preview of your Shopify store, so you know precisely where the translations are on your website.

Weglot visual editor

If you’re not familiar with the target language, you can order professional translators straight from your Weglot Dashboard.

Remember that localization isn’t as simple as just translating words directly into your users’ native languages. Ecommerce trends vary from country to country, and the kind of sales tactics and language that work on your storefront in your home region might not work abroad.

By having human translators look over the different language versions of your store’s content, you can have the peace of mind that all of your users will have the best experience, whatever language they’re shopping in.

Weglot provides your translators with all the tools they need to spot every piece of translated text on your site. One of the great things about Weglot is that your whole Shopify store is translated, including your checkout and email notifications.

To access the translations for your checkout, follow this quick tutorial. To learn more about translating your email notifications, click here. Weglot’s reactive support team is always on hand to answer any questions you might have.

You’ll also find that popular Shopify apps such as smart search apps and image galleries are also 100% translatable with Weglot, so you don’t need to worry about the other aspects of your Shopify store being unreadable for your new potential customers.

Interested in seeing how Weglot can translate your Shopify or Shopify Plus store into multiple languages? Start your 10-day free trial today and set up a Shopify multi-language store in just a few steps!

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