Media Translation: How To Translate Your Website Images

Learn how to translate media, including images on your ecommerce webpage, for more localized experiences and increased conversions.

Ecommerce sellers who market across borders will understand how crucial it is that their store is localized correctly. That’s because 76% of online shoppers have expressed that, if given a choice between two similar products, they would choose to purchase from the website that provides information in their native tongue. 40% have even declared that they will never buy from websites that do not provide translations in their language.

To overcome this obstacle, sellers need to build multilingual websites. This means translating everything on the webpage – not just text copy, but multimedia content as well, including images, photos, videos, and audio – into the local language of your target markets. If done right, media translation can open up whole new markets for Singapore ecommerce merchants to sell globally. But if mishandled or done improperly, it can cause severe backlash and damage your brand reputation in these markets.

Why is it important to translate media and images?

As KeySmart can testify, media translation can be the breakthrough to successful market expansion and revenue growth, especially if your sales have been stagnating.

“We really tried everything: more emotional ads, the same ads with different viewpoints… the thing we had the most success with was internationalization,” shared Andrew Bedell, head of marketing for KeySmart. “Internationalization really was the silver bullet that has allowed us to keep finding new customers.”

In this case, internationalization refers to the company's efforts to translate its landing pages, website, Facebook ads, and videos into the native languages of their target markets.


Media translation is so important because it allows you to reach and convert new customers. If a shopper can’t read what’s on your website, it’s understandable that they won’t be comfortable purchasing from it.

Localization and media translation are vital to breaking through the linguistic barriers holding you back from accessing lucrative overseas markets. Remember that, when faced with a choice between similar products, 3 out of 4 online shoppers will choose to purchase from the website with information in their own language.

Cultural sensitivity

Other than language translations, cultural translations are also necessary for the successful localization of content. Brands that are sincere about engaging overseas consumers need to show that they can relate culturally to their target audience to win them over.

On the other hand, committing a cultural faux pas can make your brand seem callous or unprofessional, further alienating potential customers. For example, did you know that a thumbs up is considered a rude gesture in parts of West Africa, Russia, Iran, Greece, and Sardinia? Or that Valentine’s Day is formally banned in Saudi Arabia?

Brand reputation

The quality of your translation matters. Overly robotic, auto-translated content may cover the basics and get the job done. But high-quality, well-written product descriptions accompanied by rich media assets like images, infographics, videos, audio, and more in different languages will go a long way in giving your brand a reputation boost.

After all, it reflects your commitment to the local market while showcasing that you have the means and savvy to build a truly global business and brand.

How to translate images

There are a few components of a picture or image that can be translated, each requiring different best practices.

1. Image file name

When using altered versions of an image for different languages on your site, SEO best practice is for you to localize the file name. This means that the image URL for each language version of your page will be different as well.

2. Text over image

This refers to the text that’s over the image itself. Image text is not part of the website body and won't be translated by Google Translate, so you will need to ensure that you translate these texts yourself. Translatable SVG (scalable vector graphics) files make this process much more straightforward than manually editing every image for each language.

3. Image metadata

As metadata plays a considerable role in SEO, localizing your image alt-text will make a big difference in ensuring that your website and content are searchable by international audiences. It's important that you do additional SEO research in each language and region you intend to target, as keywords often differ based on geography and cultural context.

4. Image hyperlink

If your image is linked to another page on your website, you will need to change the link URL based on the language used by visitors for optimized UX. This is part of a broader translation effort that needs to be done throughout the website so that all translated pages are separated and page URLs are appropriately localized.

Translate images on webpage using apps

When you translate media on your webpage, you have the option of choosing machine translation (like Google Translate), human translation, or a mix of both.

The Shopify App Store has apps like Langify and Weglot, both of which have easy-to-use interfaces to help you manage store translations while offering budget-friendly options for both machine and human translations.

For other media like video and audio, it's important that you engage a production services company with a proven record of working with an international clientele. Remember that media translation is not just about language. It's also about cultural context and providing hyper-relevant customer experiences.

FAQs about media translation

What is media translation?

Media translation is when you translate not just the text but also the multimedia content on your website, including images, video, and audio. Media translation plays a vital role in the localization of your ecommerce store, making it more accessible to new markets and customers.

Is media translation important in ecommerce?

If you intend to build a cross-border ecommerce business, then translation and localization will be critical to your success. Media translation is about more than just providing content in a different language – it is also about showing that you have invested the time and effort to make your business and website accessible and culturally relevant to your target audience. This will go a long way to building brand reputation and trust as you venture into new markets.

How do I translate images on a webpage?

There are different components of an image or photo that need to be translated, depending on the situation. These components include:
  • Image filename
  • Metadata
  • Text over image
  • Hyperlinks
You can also choose between machine translation, human translation, or both.

Ecommerce translation made simple with Shopify

International competition amongst ecommerce stores is more intense than ever. That’s why businesses that go the extra mile to localize will differentiate themselves from the competition. While most stores translate the text on their websites, many neglect translating their media.

Media translation is key to building a genuinely multilingual online store. It serves a dual purpose – it boosts your local SEO and sends a message that your brand is committed to the local market. The combined effect is increased traffic, conversions, and brand reputation. And with Shopify Apps like Langify and Weglot to help you, you’ll be well on your way to building a global ecommerce brand.