Selling in multiple languages

Customers all over the world enjoy viewing content in their native language. Translating your store's content can lead to more sales because your international customers can better understand your marketing, product details, shipping, and return policies. Learn more about selling cross-border.

You can enable multiple languages from your Shopify admin to create separate URLs for your translated content. When customers land on a translated URL, your store automatically shows the translated version if translations exist.

Whenever translations don't exist, your online store shows content in your primary language. You can translate the content of your online store by adding your own translations using CSV files, or by using a compatible third-party app. After translating the store, customers can browse your store, checkout, and receive notifications in their local language.

Requirements

To sell in multiple languages, you need to have the following:

  • A Shopify plan that provides the option to sell in multiple languages.

  • A theme that's compatible with selling in multiple languages. All the free themes from Shopify are compatible. You might need to update your theme for it to be compatible with selling in multiple languages. If you're using a third-party theme, then you can contact your theme developers to check if it's compatible.

  • A theme that has a language selector. Only the newest versions of the Debut, Brooklyn, and Express themes have built-in language selectors. If you're using another theme or an older version of the theme, then you can add a language selector using the Geolocation app by Shopify.

Add new languages

Before you begin, make sure your store meets the Requirements for selling in multiple languages.

Steps:

  1. Click Store languages.

  2. In Translated languages, click Add Language.

  3. Choose a language from the drop-down menu, then click Add.

  4. Click Visit Shopify App Store and follow the steps to install a translation app to your store.

  5. Follow the steps in the app to translate your online store's content and publish new languages.

  6. Click Preview to view different languages in your online store. You can preview both published and unpublished languages.

Manage languages

After you add other languages, you can manage which ones are published from your Shopify admin. You can also unpublish a language, which hides the language from customers. All links to the store in that particular language will result in a 404 “Page not found” error.

If you are confident that you do not need translations in that language, then you can also delete the language. Deleting the language does not delete the language's translations. If the language is re-enabled in the future, then the translations will be restored.

Steps:

  1. Click Store languages.

  2. In Translated languages, click Publish language to make any of your translations available in your store. Click Unpublish language to remove any language you don't want available in your store. Click Delete to delete all translated content of a language from your online store.

  3. Click Save.

If your Shopify store is on the Shopify plan, the Advanced Shopify plan, or the Shopify Plus plan, then you need to assign newly published languages to a domain in your online store for them to appear on your storefront. You must complete this task even if you're only using a single domain.

Adding language translations using CSV files

You can import translated content in CSV files. Importing your own translations using CSV files lets you manage your language translations without the use of a third-party translation app.

Restrictions:

  • You can't translate resource tags.
  • If you use a third-party app, then your app might not support selling in multiple languages by default. If you're not sure about your app, then contact the app's developer.
  • If you change a product's handle, then the URL redirects for that product won't be supported for language-specific URLs.
  • You can't translate product URLs. Product URLs remain in the language that they were created in, even when a customer views your site in another published language.

The following high-level steps describe the process to export, modify, and import language translations using CSV files.

Step 1: Add a language

Add a new language to you store.

Step 2: Export your CSV file

Export a CSV file containing all translatable content for a language.

Step 3: Add your translations

Add your language translations directly to the Translated content column of the exported CSV file, and then save your changes. You don't need to modify the values in any of the other columns in the CSV file.

Step 4: Import your CSV file

Import your modified CSV file to your Shopify admin.

Export language translations CSV

You can export a CSV file from your Shopify admin that contains the current list of translations for the languages that you select. The CSV file is emailed to you.

The CSV file contains the following columns:

  • Type - The resource type, such as Products, Articles, Collections, Pages, or Blogs.
  • Identification - The resource ID.
  • Field - The field, such as title, body_html, or meta_title.
  • Locale - The language that the content is being translated to.
  • Status - Identifies whether the translation is outdated.
  • Default content - The original content to be translated.
  • Translated content - The translated content. You can add your translated content to this row.

Steps:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Settings.

  2. Click Store languages.

  3. Click Export.

  4. Select the language that you want to export. You can select All languages to export the translations for all languages that you support.

  5. Select one of the following options:

  • Select All content to export all translations.
  • Select Metafields if you're using metafields to add content to your store.
  • Select Outdated if you've already added translations to your store and want to export translations that are out of date with your default language.
  • Select Untranslated content to export only the content that isn't currently translated.
  1. Click Export. The exported CSV file is emailed to you.

Import language translations CSV

After you export and edit your language translations CSV file, you can import it to your Shopify admin to update the translated content in your online store.

Steps:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Settings.

  2. Click Store languages.

  3. Click Import.

  4. Click Add file and then navigate to your translations CSV file.

  5. Check Overwrite any existing translations if you want the translated language content in your CSV file to replace any existing translations. Uncheck Overwrite any existing translations if you want to import only the new translated content, and not replace any existing translations.

  6. Click Upload and continue.

  7. Review the Import language with a CSV information, and then click Import. If your CSV file contains errors, then the import is stopped, and the errors are listed on the Import language with a CSV page.

  8. A confirmation is emailed to you, which includes a list of any translated content that failed or was skipped.

Translated resource types and fields

The following resource types and fields can be translated:

List of resource types that can be translated through this feature
Resource type Fields
Collection title, description
Delivery option name
Email template title, description
Link title, description
Metafields (customer facing only) value
Online store article title, description, summary
Online store blog title
Online store page title, description
Online store theme dynamic keys based on theme data
Payment gateway name
Product title, description
Product option name
Product variant title, option 1, option 2, option 3
Shop meta_title, meta_description
Shop policy body
SMS template body

At this time, tags such as product tags, article tags, and blog tags can't be translated.

Checkout and email notifications

After you add and publish a language, the translated content is displayed in the checkout and in any email notifications sent to your customer. The checkout displays in the same language that a customer uses to browse your online store. The checkout has default translations for some languages, but you can customize any translated content using a compatible third-party translation app, or importing your own translations using CSV files.

If translations are available for an email notification, then a customer is automatically sent email notifications in the language that they placed their order in.

URLs and SEO

A major aspect of selling in multiple languages is making sure that customers and search engines can find the right language version of your site. When you publish a language, unique URLs are created for each translated page in your store. This is done by adding the language code to the URLs.

For example, suppose your primary domain is shop.com. If you publish two additional languages, French (fr) and German (de), then your store URLs will change to shop.com/fr and shop.com/de.

The rest of the domain remains the same in all languages. If your Shopify store is on the Shopify plan, the Advanced Shopify plan, or the Shopify Plus plan, then you can have different languages available on different domains by using the international domains feature.

It's important that search engines can index your site in all the translated languages. Shopify automatically adds meta tags and hreflang tags, and includes all published languages in sitemaps, which help search engines detect the different languages on your store.

Translations in apps

If you use third-party apps, then it is possible that those apps don’t support selling in multiple languages by default. To check if an app supports multiple languages, contact the app's developer.

Limitations of selling in multiple languages

  • Only compatible third-party translation apps are supported by this feature.

  • Tags (such as product tags, article tags, and blog tags) can't be translated.

  • Product URLs, such as /products/large-white-t-shirt, aren't translated and remain in the language that they were created in, even when a customer is viewing the site in another published language.

Multi-language for developers

To help Shopify partners offer a fully multi-language experience and localize app workflows, Shopify is launching a set of new platform capabilities for selling in multiple languages.

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