Translating PrestaShop can be easy

Translating PrestaShop 1.7 can be easy, and that is one of this CMS’s great advantages, the most used one in Europe to create online shops. The platform offers a very good PrestaShop translation functionality in its back office where you can edit most of the content on your online shop, and not only that, you can create specific translation profiles to enable professionals to access the CMS. In this post we’ll explain how to translate PrestaShop 1.7, with the help of experts in your industry and in the language in which you want to internationalise.

We’ll go through the creation of a profile for the collaborator and importing a localisation package, the process of translating text strings, their characteristics, the translation of product content and of the static pages. Do you want to join us?

Trust professionals to translate PrestaShop

Although translating PrestaShop 1.7 can be easy and you could do it without any help thanks to this short guide, it will only work out if it’s done by professionals in the target language and in your online shop’s industry. To grant the person in charge of the translation access to your CMS without revealing sensitive information, you only need to add a new employee profile with translator rights: you will grant them access to products and categories, to static pages and to the translation of text strings, nothing else.

Create the new profile by going to your back office and following the route Advanced Parameters>Team>Add new employee. Once in the profile editor, fill in the form with the details of the person in charge of the translation and remember to choose “Translator” in the “Permission profile” drop-down. The next step in order to translate in PrestaShop is to add the language you want to translate into, because otherwise, it won’t come up in the translation options on the word editor or the CMS in general.

In order to do this, go to International>Localization>Import a localization pack and select the country to which you want to expand your market, the content you want to localise and from where (online or local) you want to import the localisation pack.

Once imported you will have the language and localisation settings installed in your CMS. There are other ways of importing language packs, such as the one offered in the “Translations” section, but we recommend this option to include the localisation of conventions and other basic aspects that are key in the translation of your online shop.

By the way, importing a localisation pack means that every text string that is already translated in the pack will be automatically translated into your CMS. In any case, keep in mind that these PrestaShop translations are based on the contributions of their community and may be incomplete or not suitable for your target audience.

Translating PrestaShop: text strings

Let’s start translating PrestaShop from the text strings that make up the core of the programme or that are in the modules that you have installed to customise your online shop. You can do it on the back office translation editor (International>Translations).

Here you can translate:

  • Back office (the content that’s only visible from the administration dashboard), topics (the content that’s visible from the front end),
  • Installed modules (the content of the modules you have added to your online shop, that affect either the front end or the back end),
  • Email templates: default email texts
  • Other translations: text chains that PrestaShop doesn’t place in any of the previous categories.
  • To select the content that you want to translate from among these options, use the “Modify translations” section, where you have to specify the type of translation (the elements mentioned above), the language to which you want to translate and, in some cases, the topic of the text strings with which you want to work. Once this is done, clicking on “Modify” will take us to the translation editor.

The PrestaShop translation editor for text strings

Using PrestaShop’s text string translation tool is extremely intuitive. The interface shows the content divided into two columns and in boxes for each text string: the original on the left and the translation on the right (you’ll see that some boxes will have already been translated automatically when importing the language pack). You only need to click on the box you want to translate or edit and then just hit “Save”. This is all very simple and you’ll have realised by now that the CMS editor to translate PrestaShop includes certain characteristics that can be very helpful.

The text editor has a search bar at the top that allows you to search for predetermined text strings and, not only that, but it also shows the total number of strings and the number of strings that still need to be translated at all times (also at the top of the interface). With regard to this last feature, we’d like to point out that it’s also shown by domains.

With translation domains, we can understand the different sections the content is divided into when it comes to translating PrestaShop, which is very useful, since it provides more context as to which part of the topic or module each text string belongs to.

That is, the translation editor interface will show all the text strings in the type of translation we have selected, but the list will appear divided into several domains, each headed by a title that will help us locate them in the CMS: for example, within the “back office translations” editor we will find domains such as “Admin Catalog” (Catalogue section), “Admin Modules” (Module section) or “Admin International” (International section), among others.

Pay attention to the format specifiers in PrestaShop

Keep in mind that you don’t need specific programming knowledge to translate PrestaShop 1.7 from the CMS editor, however, there are some elements of your own code that you need to know, called format specifiers. These are used to insert dynamic values automatically, so they should not be deleted or modified, for example: 3

“Your order at %s has been processed”; %s is in this case the name of the shop.

If the same text string contains more than one format specifier, they contain a number stating the order in which the elements should be placed within the translation: %1$s, %2$d. We can use the symbol % to identify specifiers. Similarly, in the case of email templates, it is possible to find variables such as {lastname}. They are elements introduced between brackets that PrestaShop automatically changes for their real value (name of the recipient, price, etc.) when displaying the message, so they shouldn’t be modified or deleted in the translation.

Translate PrestaShop: products and static pages

We already know how to handle the translation of text strings, but translating PrestaShop 1.7 involves much more than that. You’ll also be interested in translating your products, probably the most important part of your online shop. To do so, the person in charge of the translation should follow the Catalog>Products route and access the product that is to be translated.

It is easy to determine which fields are subject to translation, since the language selector will appear next to it. The first thing you need to do is select the language, after which the default language text over which you need to translate will appear.

The fields to be translated will be “Product Name”, “Summary” (no more than 400 characters), “Description” and image titles (”Basic Settings” section); and “Meta-title” (no more than 70 characters), “Meta-description” (no more than 160 characters) and “Friendly URL” (”SEO” section). There are other category fields that also need to be translated, such as “Name”, “Description”, “Meta-title”, “Meta-description”, “Meta keywords” and “Friendly URL”, accessible through Catalog>Categories; the attribute fields “Name” and “Public name”, accessible through Catalog>Attributes and Characteristics>Attributes and Values; the characteristics fields “Name” and “Value”, accessible through Catalog>Attributes and Characteristics>Product Characteristics; and the attached fields “File name” and “Description”, accessible through Catalog>Files. The only thing left to do is edit the static part of the online shop, that is, the “Legal Notice”, “Privacy Policy”, etc.

To do this, you need to access Design>Pages, select the static page to be translated and, after selecting the target language, edit “Meta-title”, “Meta-description”, “Meta keywords”, “Friendly URL” and “Page Content”. In theory, it’s that simple.

Translating PrestaShop isn’t that difficult

As you can see, despite the huge number of aspects that must be taken into account when translating PrestaShop 1.7, it’s not that difficult if you trust the work of an expert in translation of online shops and in the industry in which you want to internationalise.

Of course, that’s what we recommend you do, although with this little guide we have provided you could also do it, right? In any case, we hope this post has been helpful, but we also want to warn you. Translating PrestaShop does have some disadvantages. But we’ll talk about that in the next post on the subject.

By the way, if you want to expand your knowledge on the subject, don’t miss PrestaShop 1.7’s own documents, they’re quite comprehensive!

Do you need help with translating your online shop? Have a look!

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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