Translating your Magento store

By choosing Magento as your eCommerce framework,  you’ll have a huge number of useful features at your disposal - one of which is the ability to easily translate your store. Google translate is an extremely useful tool but rarely gets it 100% right. Magento’s translational features ensure that your store is fully and professionally translated in order to supply the best user experience for your customers.

So how does this work so well? Without getting too technical, Magento has a complex hierarchy that allows its users to create multiple store views for a single website. This means that different ‘stores’ can have different appearances  and languages, whilst retaining key information like customer accounts and orders across each of the stores.

Out-of-the-box Magento comes pre-translated into a number of languages, meaning that the bare bones of your website are already translated. But what if you want to add custom CMS pages to your site? Or, what if you want add category descriptions or generally translate custom text snippets? Luckily Magento makes this extremely easy. A popular feature of any eCommerce store is an FAQ page. When creating CMS pages such as these in Magento you can specify which store each page you create is assigned to. Therefore, all that needs to be done is create an FAQ page for each language and assign them to the correct store view. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Most things in Magento can be edited in this way. Category descriptions and product descriptions, for example, can be added by switching your store view when editing a product/category and copying in your translated text. But, what if you have a huge catalog, and you’ve decided to translate your store? Updating thousands of products one at time could take hundreds of man hours and no matter how large or small your business is, time is money. Well, Magento has something for this too. There’s a handy feature that allows users to update products in bulk, simply by uploading a spreadsheet. This can be done with just two columns: your product SKU (unique identifier) and the product description. Upload this to your international store view and your products are instantly updated in bulk.

Finally, there are all the leftover bits and pieces. For example, let’s say shipping information has been added to the shopping cart page. This needs to be translated across all of our stores, and can’t be modified within Magento’s admin. Don’t fret. Magento allows us to add a translate.csv file to our store view. This is simply comprised of the default language string - for example “Products will be delivered within 5 days” in one column and the translated string “Los productos serán entregados dentro de 5 días” in another. This file is the final port of call for Magento. Before your page is displayed it will search for the English string and, if found, replace it with the translation for your store view.

If you aren’t sold, Magento’s store view functionality has many other practical applications. My favorite is the ability to apply different themes to each of your store views. This means that each of your store views can be completely tailored to the locale that you are targeting. For example: adding a World Cup theme to your website that can then be easily removed when England disappoint us all.

Thanks for reading.

Lots of love,