7 must-know facts about the automatic translation of listings for ecommerce sellers

Are you an online seller, offering your products internationally? If so, you may be familiar with this mind-boggling question…

What is better these days: human or machine translation?

Well, there is no definite answer and it depends. However, in areas such as eCommerce, machine translation can bring far more profits than human translation.

Check out these 7 automatic translation related facts to find out about the benefits of this technology in the international eCommerce sector.

Fact 1. Speed: automatic translation will always win

Due to fast-changing trends on an unprecedented scale, eCommerce sellers must adapt to changes as quickly as possible. At least if they want to keep up and stay competitive. This means, for example, a regular change of inventory.

Here’s why… Think about high-street retail and how often clothes collections rotate in stores. Spring collection, sale, end-of-spring collection, sale, summer collection, sale, end-of-summer collection, sale, autumn… you get the point. The product cycle today can be very short, especially in fashion and electronics.

If you need to change your inventory more often than not, and you trade on international markets, think how it relates to translation. If you have a large number of listings on different foreign markets and you need to translate them at short notice, this can be a real challenge for your human translators.

It may turn out that by the time the translation is finished, you need to … change your inventory again. A timely reaction is an absolute necessity in most cases. One of the biggest advantages of using machine translation compared to human translation is the speed of translation.

If you need to translate 25 listings from German to English, it may take 1-3 days. Does it have to take this long? The answer is no.

Our machine translation system can translate a big amount of listings in seconds. If your store offers 1,000 items, manual translation of all of your inventory will probably take about a month. Webinterpret will do this job in … 1 day.

ecommerce translation speedYou own more than one store and feel pressed for time? Yes, time can be a big issue, especially if you need to spend it on finding freelance translators or translation agencies. The Webinterpret solution offers all in one.

You will be spared the hassle of looking for professional translators and waiting for the translation to be completed. You don’t have to manage the whole process on your own, but you can focus on your core business instead. We’re here to take care of the localisation and multiplication of your revenue.

Fact 2. Translation mechanisms can be adapted quickly

Another huge advantage of using the Webinterpret technology is the quick adaptation of our translation mechanisms to the constantly evolving eBay and Amazon policies.

For example, eBay changes its category tree on all sites twice a year. Hence, we keep adapting our translation engine to these changes. The great news is that you, as a seller, don’t have to change anything manually. Neither do you have to pay extra for the re-translation of your listings since we upgrade them automatically.

We have proven on multiple occasions that our fast-response teams can adapt to the changes quickly. For instance, to meet new eBay requirements, we added MPNs (Manufacturer Part Number) and GTINs (Global Trade Item Number) to all our translated listings automatically. We recognise the importance of staying tuned at all times so that we can react quickly.

Fact 3. Keywords in titles matter

It’s crucial to use domain-specific vocabulary. Why? You only have 2 seconds to grab the buyer’s attention.

External translators don’t always have specific knowledge to properly translate technical vocabulary. In fact, it’s not uncommon that they even fail to translate fashion items correctly. We want to avoid such situations at all cost.

Our dictionaries are constantly validated and improved by our language quality specialists, experts in given domains. We also use a statistical machine translation engine, trained on the basis of eCommerce vocabulary. This ensures that we will use words commonly used on eCommerce platforms.

Fact 4. Size conversion is a tricky thing

Correct size conversion is necessary to keep your items searchable for international buyers. It also minimises the risk of returns. Be it the dress size or any product dimensions, site specific units must be used.

Unit conversion can be difficult and confusing for human translators. It’s not a question of maths but more has to do with the fact that various brands can have various conversion tables. They can international ecommerce size conversionalso differ between sellers and models.

Now let’s imagine that you want to use 20 different conversion charts for different brands and models. Of course you can prepare them yourself and share them with your translators. However, what’s the probability of human translators making a mistake? High.

Now consider a situation when you’d like to change one of your conversion charts and apply those changes to all your listings. Well, you will have to change them all manually. Yes, we know such cases.

For this reason, we have created a dedicated tool for our clients to simplify the process as much as possible and avoid translation errors. We can ensure that all products belonging to the same brand will be translated according to the same rule. Thanks to our solution, the number of tickets related to incorrect conversion as well as the number of returns has significantly decreased.

Fact 5. Translation may affect the visibility of your listings

To maximise the probability of making sales, your items should be easily found by the buyer. eBay and Amazon use special filters to help buyers find exactly what they are looking for. When filtered values are selected, search results will contain only the items with values chosen in Item Specifics.

Translating the Item Specifics section according to eBay filters is crucial to improve the visibility of your listings. This is another example where machine translation gives you much better results compared to human translators. Why? Because each category has different filters.

ebay ecommerce categoriesOne feature can be described in different ways in different categories and on different eBay sites. Let’s take prams as an example. In the UK there is the category Pushchairs & Prams and the filter used for colours is called the Main Colour. On the German eBay site, on the other hand, the category name is Kinderwagen and the filter used for colours is called Farbe (the word Main is missing from the translation).

Humans aren’t likely to know about such changes. Especially that thousands of filters are changed on a regular basis. In such cases the optimal translation is required so that your items land at the top of search results.

The good news is that our machine translation system can select the best translation to fit eBay filters. This is hardly possible for human translators, but machines programmed with proper algorithms will do the job. This is what our system offers.

Fact 6. Machines are at an advantage when it comes to big data analysis

When it comes to analysing a huge amount of data, computers will always outperform humans. Hence, we use this advantage to improve our translations and to increase your GMV. We can analyse thousands of our translations, searching for any potential anomalies.

For instance, if your items generate much higher GMV in Italy compared to the German market, we will investigate the cause and improve our translation. We are hiring the best data analysts and world-class language specialists who co-operate to constantly improve the quality of your listings.

This added value to our translation service can have an enormous impact on your international sales figures. Not to mention the fact that it’s unlikely for a single human translator to conduct such an analysis.

Fact 7. Machine translation is cost-effective

Costs are often the major driving force behind business decisions. So how good is the news that machine translation is cheaper than human translation?

A professional translation company charges between 10$-20$ per listing. If you have 1,000 listings to be translated to one language, you will pay on average $ 15,000, without the guarantee of return from investment.

ecommerce translation cost

The risk is huge. Luckily, our service eliminates this risk: it is based on commission and translation is free. We also offer a whole a bunch of other services to manage your international sales.

To conclude…

There may be a general perception that automated translation has its flaws and cannot replace humans. This is true in specific cases, but in the eCommerce industry, machine translation has its unique selling points. Especially that …

 … even though automated translation may be generated by machines, it is the human brain that is behind it.

Hence, technology combined with the human touch can produce amazing results. As Joanna Chodzynska, Product Owner at Webinterpret responsible for the improvement of translation mechanisms puts it…

Every great technology is created by people who are behind it. Thus, what we offer at Webinterpret is not only technology, but people who are passionate about creating a state-of-the-art solution crossing the borders in the machine translation area.

Interested in checking YOUR international sales potential on top marketplaces? Book a FREE consultation with our eCommerce expert!

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Further reading & other sources

3 myths about automated translation for international online sellers
International sales: the language barrier finally overcome
[INFOGRAPHIC] Overcome the language barrier in international eCommerce

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