How to Translate Your Amazon Product Listing and Rank Well in Foreign Markets

Right now, we all know the massive buzz around selling on Amazon. Why? Because you can reach the whole of Amazon’s audience with your listing. You don’t need to learn how to create an eCommerce site or deal any of the hassle of ranking your own site—Amazon has already done all that hard work for you.

What is really important is to get a firm grip on the competition on Amazon itself. You’re battling to push your products up the rankings and make sales. So how can you get ahead of the game? Well, one thing that might have seemed obvious to some got totally missed by others—is to get your listing translated and ranked in foreign markets.

Yes, you’ll be ahead of the competition. For example: You might have Japanese buyers discovering your products using Japanese keywords while your competitors are missing out on clicks. Sounds simple enough, but make sure you’re switched on to what will bring you the numbers you are looking for when getting your Amazon listing into another market.

Image from Ridwan Kahn

Why Translate In The First Place?

As English speakers, we assume that the rest of the world can deal with a lot of things in English. In some cases this is true. However, when you’re selling online, this way of thinking is going to lose you money.

Buying online is all about having clearly written descriptions. When you are reading a listing on Amazon, you want to know exactly what it is you are considering buying. You want to know the exact functionality, warranty, and return policy for the item. You’re not going to buy if you’re not clear about what it is and what the details are, which means that you are very unlikely to buy something online if the listing in a foreign language.

That’s exactly the information we got from the Harvard Business Review, which showed that a massive 56.2% of those surveyed said that language was more important than price when making a purchase decision online.

Get Your Amazon Product Listing Translation Done By Amazon Pros

Finding translators is really easy. Finding good ones is hard. Yes, we’ve all heard of and—great places to find talent. However, not always the right places to find reliable talent. As any of you who have used either will know, they can be very hit and miss on quality. Sifting through applications is also a huge time suck on those platforms that have unreliable filters for getting hold of quality contractors. I’ve spent years dealing with freelance translators, and like finding any reliable staff, you generally have to apply a high filter on quality in order to keep working with someone on a regular basis. Quality control and sticking to schedules are the two main goals here.

Tip: Translation for something like an Amazon listing isn’t the same game as getting your buddy to tell you how to say “two beers please” in Spanish. It's a much more involved deal than that.

On your Amazon listing, you’re competing with local sellers who know how to describe their products perfectly in the local language, so you’ll need to hire someone who can reliably do the same, or hopefully even better.

If you’re going to get the job done properly you should get someone who:

  • Knows the Amazon ecosystem
  • Can provide high-level keyword research
  • Can write your descriptions with sales in mind

This might seem obvious to you, but it’s the kind of thing where marketers get slack. Doing things in a foreign language can feel like it has an extra layer of stress to get done properly, which might cause you to get lazy and cut corners. As a business owner, you generally get to run your eye over every process. In the case of a high-level technical translation, you don’t have a clue what’s good or bad, so it is one of the rare occasions where your personal opinion has no value at all (as opposed to something like outsourcing design) and you just need to trust the person who is managing the process.

Take Care Of Keyword Optimization

Keyword research is a critical part of getting your Amazon products high up the search rankings and the game is the same on your foreign language Amazon listing. Japanese buyers are searching using Japanese keywords, and you’ll need to pay close attention to this, as the keyword game is equally important in each language.

So let’s use an example: Your listing a clay foot frame for kids. Because your translator isn’t paying attention, in your German Amazon listing, you use “clay” as a keyword. You forget to go for the long-tail “clay foot frame” because you’ve got someone translating who doesn’t understand the value of using detailed and accurate keywords.

So what happens?

You won’t get exposure for your intended keyword, and you’ll be somewhere at the bottom of the pile for almost every search for “clay.”

Ranking badly for “clay face mask” is going to murder your sales. It’s also going to affect your Amazon stats. You’ll lose out on impressions and then your CTR will sink. Your German listing is now about as visible as the Titanic because your product is so irrelevant to the specific search results.

Another trap to be careful of is stuffing your listing with keywords. Translators aren’t internet marketers. Keyword stuffing seems like an obvious trap for someone who knows nothing about search engines. Translators aren’t trained to understand that stuffing your main keyword excessively into your listing is suicide for your ranking—so be careful of potentially damaging tactics that might go unnoticed.

Don’t Forget—You’re Still A Marketer on Amazon

Sell guys, sell! Forgive us for spelling out the obvious, but your Japanese translator needs to understand the difference between words like “ classic” and “old” in your product description. “Classic car” v “old car”–we all know these two descriptions are very different, but sadly most translators aren’t thinking like this and won’t automatically think to solve this problem for you.

In the same way that your average English literature undergrad (with great English skills) has no idea how to write a sales headline, neither does your average translator. In order to overcome this, you’ll either need to train up your translator with some marketing chops or hire someone who already has this in their toolkit.

As we all know, your words are critical when it comes to generating sales, so be sure to be specific about your marketing message when getting your translations done for foreign markets. This may seem like it’s not news, but it’s something we’ve seen in a lot of listings where Amazon sellers are leaking sales.

Maximize Profit By Choosing The Right Amazon Markets

If you’re wondering where to start when choosing new markets, start with:

  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • Germany


They may not be the biggest countries by population, but they certainly have better numbers when it comes to eCommerce. Growth in Germany and Japan are easily the most impressive numbers outside of the English speaking world, so if you’re looking for ROI, head there first. YLT-Translations have been working with both new and established Amazon sellers and crowd sourced their research information, which ( to save you some time) all pointed to the UK, Germany, and Japan being the most mature in terms of eCommerce sales.

Data collected by Statista

Amazon Markets Localization: You Don’t Know What’s Popular Across The Water

You might have seen a guy called “ The Hoff” /  (nice name, huh?). He was in the original American Baywatch series (yes, that was a while ago!). He launched a solo singing career shortly after the series was hit. In the US and UK, he was taken as a bit of a joke. But in one European country, he was one of the biggest music acts of the decade.

Where? Germany.

Why? Because for the German market, he struck a chord (black leather maybe?). He was one of the first people to play live on the Berlin Wall after it was opened in 1989. His song “Looking for Freedom” became a national anthem for hope, symbolizing the changing times.

Amazon Market Localization

So what’s this got to do with your Amazon listing?

Well, by expanding your product elsewhere, you might find that the new market has a larger appetite for your product than expected. No one expected “The Hoff” to get such a big and memorable reception in Germany. No one planned it. He was just in the right place at the right time. So for you-you might find that you get a jump in sales in a new market for no apparent reason at all.

In addition, with some research, you might even be able to spot products that aren’t well represented in foreign markets and make that part of your portfolio. Foreign markets can offer pleasant surprises, so keep your eyes open to opportunities, and good luck!

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Jana Krekic

Jana is a certified translator and also the founder of YLT Translations who is very passionate about her work. She has had over 4 years of experience with various 7-figure Amazon sellers. Jana was also a business development manager in one of the biggest Danish online e-commerces for 8 years where she had gained a lot of experience with online businesses. She doesn’t only lead the team of 15 people, but also completely understands E-commerce and Amazon sellers.

At YLT-Translations, we put considerable time and effort into recruiting a team who were top of their game at translating. After that, we put them on our internally designed “MLT Course” (Marketing Led Translation) to turn top quality translators into sales copywriters for e-commerce in their respective languages.


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