Creative translations for Ecommerce: a winning choice

creative translation ecommerce winning choice

Creative translations for Ecommerce: a winning choice

Can you translate your Ecommerce content while ensuring that foreign audiences will also appreciate it and be enticed to purchase? Absolutely, but you need to adapt your site to the local culture with creative translations. But what exactly is a creative translation, and how can it help your Ecommerce site grow abroad?

In an increasingly interconnected and globalised world, geographic and linguistic boundaries have long ceased to be a major obstacle for companies, especially those operating in Ecommerce.

While the benefits of digital for entrepreneurs seem obvious (larger pool of users and the possibility of higher earnings), an online business also brings new problems that are often overlooked and underestimated, chief among them the need to be able to reach out and communicate with foreign audiences effectively.

Do you need to translate your Ecommerce site? Simple: put everything into Google Translate!

How many times have you heard such a phrase? You, too, may have thought from time to time about speeding up the translation process by relying on the wonders of technology. But are you sure that machine translation is the right choice when it comes to Ecommerce?

I mean, would Google really be able to create text that is not only true to the original, but is able to capture and persuade the target audience as much as your own native Ecommerce site?

Let us tell you, as people who have made communication and translation our profession for years now: absolutely not! To really take off, your Ecommerce needs creative translations.


What is the best way to translate your Ecommerce content for a new market?

Imagine you’re an American company and you want to sell your new product in Italy as well: a special all-in-1 pot that saves time when preparing meals and lets you cook multiple foods together.

creative translation ecommerce

The latest advertising copy in your campaign reads:

When it’s 5 PM and your kids are waiting at the dinner table…

At first glance, such a sentence doesn’t seem to contain anything problematic. Even Google would be able to translate it:

Quando sono le 17 e i tuoi figli sono a tavola e aspettano la cena…

But… are you 100% sure that an Italian customer can identify with such a phrase? I mean, could a reader in Italy really feel represented reading that their children already want dinner at 5 p.m.?

Absolutely not! No one in Italy would dream of dining at that hour.

So how could we make this copy a little easier for an Italian to identify with?

When it’s 8 p.m. and your kids are waiting for dinner…

That’s not too bad, but perhaps still too abstract? Let’s give it another try:

When it’s time for dinner and your children are starving….

Do you notice the difference? By changing one detail, or phrasing it more generically and with a bit more emotion, we were immediately able to create a text as effective as the original (if not more so!) for the Italian market.


This small example explains exactly what we mean when we talk about creative translations: a translation that is faithful to the spirit and purpose of the original, but not precisely to its exact words.

When it comes to creative translations, the goal is not to translate from the original, but to translate like the original, producing the same effect in readers (and thus potential customers) as the source text.


How to create a good translation?

We’ve seen that in certain cases, a good translation is not necessarily 100% faithful to the original text.

creative translation ecommerce how toOf course, each situation will always have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis: although Ecommerce is one of the most suitable areas for creative translations, relying on communication professionals will allow you to figure out how to achieve the set goals and together decide on the various strategies to be used for the translation of your Ecommerce site.

A concrete example?

While it’s advisable to use creative translations to convince new customers to buy on your Ecommerce site, other sections of your site still need a translation that is as faithful to the original as possible: think about information on shipping costs or return policies. A creative translation might even turn out to be a big problem on those pages!

How writing for B2C and B2B is changing

Speaking of creative translations for Ecommerce, it’s important to take a small step back and consider the fundamental difference between writing for B2C and for B2B.

If the focus is on emotions in customer communications (B2C) to emotionally engage and make direct contact with consumers in order to incentivise them to make a purchase, communications for B2B sales, on the other hand, will have to be more pragmatic: a company will not buy your product because it lets them make their children happy, rather they will do so to derive a tangible benefit from it and if they consider it a smart choice from an economic point of view.

Having ascertained this difference, how can you concretely apply this to Ecommerce translation?

  • Creative translations for B2C must try to emotionally engage the client, adapting cultural and situational references and leveraging the client’s actual or presumed needs, including those specific to the target market.
  • Creative translations for B2B need a translator who can adapt the text while not changing it in a major way, continuing to highlight the positive, concrete and objective sides of the product or service offered.



Whether your Ecommerce site is B2C or B2B, translating and adapting it will involve significant challenges and difficulties. It is thus essential to rely on the right team which, after analysing your situation with you, will know how to best localise your Ecommerce.

If you have an Ecommerce business and are thinking of expanding abroad, contact us! We’ll be happy to help you win new markets and new customers with our creative translations.

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