Main concerns of international online shoppers

Main concerns of international online shoppers

Presents for family in America  tick

Presents for the kids tick

Present for Grandma tick

Click, click, click.  My Christmas shopping is nearly complete, and 80% was purchased online.  The gifts that haven’t been dropped into my online shopping basket have at least been researched and price-checked online.  Judging by the latest eCommerce research, I am not alone.

online shoppingConsumers around the world are shopping online in increasing numbers.  It’s quick and often cheaper; getting the lowest advertised price only takes a quick Google search.  And with free shipping options, it’s cheaper than paying for city centre parking! Buying gifts for friends and family in another country is also a lot easier – no queuing at the post office! – and saves the cost of international postage.

With your international eCommerce site, the concerns are very much the same as for English-language only websites, however there are a few additional points to consider for your foreign-language pages. Simply translating the English content is not sufficient.


Delivery charges

Make it very clear how much deliveries to the target country will cost.  Also include pricing for delivery to the UK as well – many foreign shoppers on UK sites are buying for their friends and family in the UK.  And finally, include a table of pricing information for all other countries/regions, as someone using a translated site may need delivery to a different country altogether.

Delivery times

Again, it helps to make it very clear how long it will take for delivery to the UK and to the target country.  Information for delivery to other countries should also be included less prominently.

Returns Policy

Please include returns information specific to the target country.

Payment Options

Paying with a credit card on an international site can raise concerns for a shopper.  What currency will the charge be in?  Will a fee be incurred? How secure is the site?  Including the option to pay with PayPal is a good idea.  This way, shoppers don’t have to input their credit card details on the site as the payment is handled completely with PayPal.  Yes, the merchant has to pay a fee, however if it means making a sale that wouldn’t be made otherwise, it may be worth it.

Customer Service

If you can receive and reply to customer queries in their own language, that will work in your favour.  If you need advice on this, please contact us directly.


If your company offers personalised items, bear in mind that foreign customers may want items with non-Latin characters printed on them.  Are you prepared to print Japanese or Arabic characters on a leather diary?  It not, bear this in mind when localising the site.  Often, personalisation is key for a brand, and not being able to offer personalised items in the target language is a major setback.


Have you translated reviews consumers have left on your site, or are you displaying all reviews – regardless of language – to every visitor? If you have sufficient reviews from the target country, either option will work. Reviews are key for visitor conversion and can’t be ignored.

How to sell the benefits of yourself as a human translator

Reports last week claimed that 40% of jobs would be replaced by machines by 2030, and that they will be able to ‘translate and interpret text quicker than humans’.

Many companies already use machine translation to provide quick and free translations of their websites and other materials, so it is down to us as language service providers along with our team of trusty translators to explain the added value of human translation.

But where do we start explaining to a company with their eye on the bottom line why they should invest in professional translation? Here are a few of our suggestions:


Would your SMS be over the limit?

Ever contemplated a multilingual marketing campaign that uses SMS messaging to contact your customers? Or simply wanted to practise a bit of French with your latest foreign speaking acquaintance? Then you may want to have a serious think about size. Because when it comes to texting, it really does matter.

As English speakers, we are lucky enough to be given a grand total of 160 characters per text message. These days, our mobile providers generally allow us to exceed these limits and will concatenate multiple messages into one long message, billing us for the equivalent number of messages. UK mobile networks use GSM encoding, which supports a character set consisting of the Latin alphabet, numbers, many other symbols, and some support for non-English accented characters. ‘Extended’ GSM character sets are also provided in some countries and offer additional characters, but this can vary depending on the mobile provider and handset. Often, using these characters will also subtract more than one character from your precious 160 character allowance. In fact, even using your favourite smiley or salsa dancing emoji will instantly convert your message to Unicode and reduce your character limit to 70. And if you send a special character to someone with an incompatible handset, which is tricky to know beforehand, it may simply appear as a ☐. (more…)

Pre-localisation preparations


Before localising a website, there are several key things to consider:

If your site runs off a popular CMS, or if you have static HTML, localisation will be straightforward. Bespoke systems may also have been designed with localisation in mind.
• Consider whether all the elements of your design are editable. If you have images with embedded text that you have created in another program, the same program and file will be needed to create localised images.
• Ask yourself if the design is going to work if you don’t translate all parts of your website, or will there be an empty space on the French site where the “online chat” function is in English?
• Look for other potential spacing issues, such as the insertion of a dropdown language menu or currency selector.
• Find out if you can export/import content for translation. If not, would you prefer to provide us with access to your site, or would you handle all the content yourself?
• Can you provide server access to an external IP should this be necessary?


How to Avoid a Branding Blunder

Following the decision of a Judge in France to prevent parents from naming their baby girl ‘Nutella’, this has sparked debate over words that should be deemed suitable, and indeed unsuitable, to be used as a name. In this case, the French courts deemed that the name would ‘lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts’ (BBC News) due to its association with the popular hazelnut spread.

This certainly isn’t the first case of its kind, but brings to mind an interesting point regarding our word associations and the power held within language. There are few instances where this becomes more apparent than in the translation world. (more…)

Business Etiquette Around The World

Each country has its own variety of cultures and traditions, and this is no different when it comes to business. What may be considered normal in one country could be classed as rude or offensive somewhere else and your behaviour could make or break a deal. Do your homework before attending any international meetings so you can make the best possible impression.


Japan is very conservative and this is reflected in their approach to meetings. To make the best impression dress smartly, preferably in a dark colour. Ladies should try to tone down their makeup and avoid high heels such as stilettos. After you have made a great first impression, remember to offer out your business cards and do so with both hands. For that extra special touch, translate the reverse of your business card in to Japanese.


Translation and User Experience

When it comes to websites, translation isn’t just about providing information. It’s also – crucially – about user experience.

The web is basically a roadworks team. In the last 20 years, potholed beaten tracks have been renovated into information ultra-highways, smoother and speedier than most people even appreciate. We zip ideas along these tailor-made arteries and they come back at us just as quickly; standing on the central reservation is a fairly dizzying experience. (more…)

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