A common topic with Shopify and themes is “Does your theme support selling in multiple languages?“. The answer is yes, but there are some additional aspects of this question that you may not be aware of at first. We will discuss them below.
- Does my Shopify subscription plan matter?
Answer: Yes & no. If you are just looking to translate the language of the theme and that’s it, then plans have no effect.Shopify plans are required when comes to translating your theme into multiple languages that the customer can choose from. At this time any store can sell in multiple languages but please click this link and scroll down till you see “Global Selling” for more details about what is required in order to translate your theme as Shopify may update their conditions over time.
- Will I need an app and if so why doesn’t the theme handle everything?
Answer: Yes and no. If you are just looking to have 1 language, then you won’t need an app, just a translation for your language. If you are looking to add a language that we have not yet added support for, you can manually add the language by following this guide.If you are looking to have a multi-language site, then you will need an app to manage some of the translations. However, the theme will show a country selector in the header or footer (the location will vary depending on the theme, and you will find settings normally in the header and footer in most theme to enable/disable these).The theme itself contains a translation file containing text. This is text common to all stores – things like “Add to cart”, “Checkout” or “Account login” etc. We provide some language translations in our themes and to see the full list of supported languages you can click here. A theme cannot translate text that didn’t come with the theme, for example, your product description, main menu/navigation bar. In other words, anything that you, the merchant, has created. On Shopify.Themes do not provide the interface for translating this kind of text. You will need an app to come in and translate these words. Some apps also allow you to correct any translations that it may get wrong.
- Are there any limitations when it comes to selling in multiple languages?
Answer: Yes, and these apply to all themes including Shopify’s free themes and cannot be overridden by our themes or any third party theme.
- The search bar works only in the shop’s primary language. So if your primary language is English, and someone searches for a word in French, it won’t work. This is a Shopify limitation and not a theme one so we cannot change or override this.
- Only compatible third-party translation apps are supported by this feature.
- Tags (such as product tags, article tags, and blog tags) can’t be translated.
- Product URLs, such as
/products/large-white-t-shirt, aren’t translated and remain in the language that they were created in, even when a customer is viewing the site in another published language.
- When using your theme, can I see my theme admin in a different language like Shopify’s own free themes?
Answer: No. Shopify has the resources and team at hand in order to make this level of translations in their free themes and they don’t help third parties translate theirs. Our themes currently only support an English admin. We will continue to add more theme translations when we can.
- Will my URL change to indicate a different language.
Answer: Yes. The domain will display the common domain ending based on that language. .com/fr for French or .com/de for German etc. This is not controlled by the theme and cannot be changed based on Shopify support docs.
Manually translating a theme
If you want to translate your theme, you can indeed do this.
- I don’t want to make my theme live until it is fully translated
Don’t worry, it only has to be for a few minutes, once you complete the following steps, you can republish the old theme and work on the translations until your theme is ready to be fully published.
- My published theme is the one I want to make the translations to.
We suggest duplicating your theme. Once you follow the steps below, you can publish the duplicate for now while you make the translations in your theme. Once complete you can publish the translated theme.
- What if a customer comes to my store while I am creating the translations
You can enable the Storefront Password page while you make changes and add an explanatory message.
Steps: (These are for editing on the published theme)
Online Store > Actions > Edit Languages > Actions (Top right) > Change theme language > Select language you want to translate > Save.
After the page loads, you will see English on the left and empty fields on the right or, if the theme already has translations for that selected language, you will see the translations which you can then edit if needed.
Add the translation inside these fields. You will also notice headings at the top where you can open more options.
3rd Party Translation Apps
We do not run any testing on these apps, we do not have recommendations on which one to go for. Our advice is to read the reviews and contact the app developer to help to make up your mind.
They are all supported 3rd party apps, so if you have any questions or issues with setting up, you will be able to reach out to the app support team. Our theme support will not be able to help with any questions related to apps or help with app installation. Please always direct the questions to the app’s own support team.
What Languages do your Themes support?
Please note, if you are using any of our themes and don’t see the translation, you may perhaps be running an older version of the theme. To access the translations you will need to update to the latest version. For information about updating your theme, please check out our guide through this link.
Showcase: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Symmetry: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Canopy: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Boost: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Expression: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Alchemy: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Masonry: English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese (inc Brazil), Danish, Spanish
Help with Theme translation
Theme translations can be a tricky and lengthy process to get right. If you are looking for some help with installing the apps and getting them set up, the app’s own support team will be there to help. If you run into any issues with the app, they should be the first point of contact.
Our support team will not be able to help with app issues and will suggest you get in contact with the app developers. If you are looking for additional help, you can always hire an expert. There is an excellent Shopify developer community out there that can do customisation work (requests to customise original code fall outside the scope of our theme support).
Other Shopify developers: https://experts.shopify.com/developers
The Job Board: https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-Ecommerce-Jobs/bd-p/shopify-job-board
Specific tasks: https://experts.shopify.com/services/development-and-troubleshooting