eBay Sheds Light on Translation Plans

eBay held its annual developers conference and, according to this article, is not close to launching any translation service for sellers. Here’s an excerpt:

    Another questioner wanted to know if eBay had any plans for a translation feature, saying it was difficult for sellers to sell in a multi-cultural, multi-language region, for example on a European site where browsers might be from Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. Steinhorn responded they hadn’t thought through all the ramifications of such a service, for example, if eBay’s translation was “less than spectacular.” Don Durbin suggested a good approach might be to partner with someone within the country to do the translation, and indicated one seller had created a tool with tabs within a listing for different languages such as English, Italian, etc. She said she did not expect eBay would be offering translation services in the near future.

And eBay’s loss of Japan to Yahoo! is clearly still a source of pain:

    Cobb and Jordan’s answers seemed to highlight the international focus of much of the conference. The “biggest blight” on the record of international has been Japan, said Cobb. “We were late” in the Japanese market, said Jordan. The Japanese didn’t respond to an English-written product with dollars,” he said wryly, to laughter from the audience.

What eBay doesn’t highlight is that their classified portal, Kijiji, is already localized for Japan; so to some extent they are trying to get back in. And, I believe, they really have no choice but take another shot at Japan. I wrote about this earlier this year in our eBay Global Profilereport.

On a separate note, eBay has partnered with B-B trade portal in China, Global Sources. You can read about the deal here.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.