Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

Tips for optimizing your shop’s language settings

Take advantage of Etsy’s integrated translation tools to reach and appeal to buyers worldwide.

By Annette Vorstoffel Nov 20, 2019

Etsy is a global platform, which allows your shop to reach buyers worldwide. Our integrated translation tools make these important connections between buyers and sellers possible by translating the listing descriptions and shop details a seller provides automatically into many languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.

The higher the clarity of the original listing copy a seller provides, the more effective our automated translation tools are. We recommended creating your listings in your native language. Ensure the language you choose is consistent across all of your listings and shop details, and do not mix languages. This results in better translation quality. Providing clear, detailed information in your native language also helps your shop appeal to domestic buyers; internal Etsy data shows that listings written in the native language of the buyer, where the seller has the same native language, lead to higher purchase rates on average.

Read on for tips on using Etsy’s translations tools to maximize your shop’s potential at home and abroad.

Set your shop’s default language in the language you’re most fluent in

Setting up the entirety of your shop in your native language ensures you can express yourself clearly, giving you optimal control over the information you’re hoping to convey to your audience. While many people are fluent in multiple languages conversationally, writing in another language while conducting business can prove more challenging. As a non-native speaker, you may incidentally employ phrasing or miss local nuances which can lead to unintended interpretations. Linguistic “imperfections” can become magnified when the non-native language version is used as the basis for Etsy’s integrated machine translation system. These powerful translation tools, which are continuously refined based on integrated machine learning mechanisms, make it possible for shoppers from many regions of the world to easily browse Etsy and converse with sellers, regardless of whether the shop owner’s native language is the same as their own. By providing your default shop details and item listings in the language you’re most fluent in, you set both yourself and your shoppers up for the best experience possible.

Make the most of Etsy’s additional translation tools

With Etsy’s automatic translations enabled, buyers will automatically see your listings in their preferred language while browsing. Automatic translation is turned on by default for all shops, and we recommend leaving it on to work its magic. You can control your shop’s automated translation status by visiting Shop Manager > Settings > Options.

If you originally set up your shop in English and would like to switch your shop’s language default over to your native language, you can request the switch through Etsy’s support team. Find out how to get started here.

You also have the option to add manual translations to your listings and shop details for additional languages you speak fluently enough to conduct business effectively. If you master any other languages that are supported by Etsy, we recommend adding your own translations. High-quality human translations are a trust signal to buyers and can lead to more purchases. You should be able to accurately represent an item, complete a transaction, and provide customer service to the buyer in that language before deciding to add a manual translation.

Any manual translations you provide will override automatic translations, but wherever these are missing the system will step up, so don’t worry about being “left bare” in any case. You can learn more about the benefits of adding high-quality manual translations to reach and appeal to more buyers here.

Keep your default shop language clear and consistent

Once you’ve decided what the most appropriate default language is for your shop, eliminate any mixed languages within your listings, item tags, and shop details to ensure Etsy’s translation tools can generate the optimal experience for your global buyers. If your shop’s default language is German, there should be exclusively German copy used in your default text fields, including your listing description and tags. Mixing languages within the text of your default shop language can confuse Etsy’s translation system by making it difficult to detect the original language, and can negatively impact your listings’ appearance in search on and off Etsy.

If you’re fluent in additional languages, it’s best to manually add those translations as described in the previous section by visiting Shop Manager > Settings > Languages and translations.


Annette Vorstoffel

Annette is a Berlin-based product marketer at Etsy and helps international sellers use the platform for optimal performance.

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