Mastering Taobao: A Comprehensive Guide to Translating Taobao Words into English

Photo of author
Written By Sharline

Sharline is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China's exporting. She loves to share her experiences with people and has written many helpful articles.

Taobao, China’s largest online marketplace, is a shopping paradise for those seeking a diverse array of products at competitive prices. From fashionable clothing and electronics to unique collectibles, Taobao offers a treasure trove of options. 

However, there’s often one significant hurdle for international shoppers: the language barrier. But fret not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various ways to translate Taobao words into English, making your Taobao shopping experience smooth and enjoyable.

Leveraging Taobao’s Built-in Translation Tools

Taobao recognizes the international audience it attracts, and thus, it has integrated some translation features to assist non-Chinese speakers. While these tools may not provide perfect translations, they can offer a reasonable understanding of the content.

Here’s how to use them:

  • Product Listings: When viewing a product listing, you’ll often find a small “Translate” button beneath the product title. Clicking this button translates the title and basic information into English. However, be aware that not all product details may be translated.
  • Shop Descriptions: Many Taobao shops include brief English descriptions of their offerings. Look for sections titled “About” or “Description” on a shop’s page to find this information.
  • Chat Translations: If you communicate with sellers through Taobao’s chat feature, the platform may offer to translate messages automatically.

While these built-in tools are helpful for basic comprehension, they may not cover all text on the platform.

Using Translation Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are powerful tools that can greatly enhance your Taobao shopping experience by providing real-time translation of web content. Here are some popular browser extensions to consider:

  • Google Translate Extension: Google Translate is a widely used translation tool, and it offers a browser extension. You can install it in your preferred browser (e.g., Chrome or Firefox) and set it to automatically translate web pages from Chinese to English. When you encounter Chinese text on Taobao, the extension will promptly translate it, allowing you to understand product details, reviews, and more.
  • Microsoft Edge Translator Extension: If you use Microsoft Edge as your browser, the built-in Translator extension can automatically translate web pages. Similar to Google Translate, it can help you understand Chinese text on Taobao.
  • Third-Party Translation Extensions: Additionally, there are third-party browser extensions specifically designed for translating Chinese websites. These extensions may offer features tailored to Chinese e-commerce platforms like Taobao.

These browser extensions can be incredibly handy, especially when browsing product listings, reading reviews, or communicating with sellers. However, keep in mind that automatic translations may not always be flawless, so exercise caution, particularly when making purchasing decisions based on translated content.

Employing Online Translation Services

If you prefer not to use browser extensions or want more control over the translation process, you can turn to online translation services. These services allow you to manually enter or paste text for translation. Here are two popular online translation platforms:

  • Google Translate: Visit the Google Translate website, select Chinese as the source language, and English as the target language. You can then type or paste Chinese text into the translation box to get an English translation. Google Translate also offers a mobile app for on-the-go translation.
  • Bing Translator: Microsoft’s Bing Translator is another reliable option. Similar to Google Translate, you can visit the Bing Translator website and input Chinese text for translation.

These online translation services are versatile and can handle a wide range of text, including product descriptions, reviews, and chat messages. Simply copy the Chinese text from Taobao, paste it into the translation tool, and retrieve the English translation.

Mobile Apps for On-the-Go Translation

If you frequently shop on Taobao using a mobile device, you can take advantage of translation apps that provide real-time translation through your device’s camera or by scanning screenshots. Here are a couple of apps to consider:

  • Google Translate App: The Google Translate mobile app offers a “Camera” feature that allows you to point your camera at Chinese text, such as product labels or signs, and see instant translations in English. You can also upload screenshots for translation within the app.
  • Waygo: Waygo is a dedicated translation app for Chinese and other languages. It specializes in translating text through your device’s camera. Simply aim your camera at Chinese text, and Waygo will provide an English translation on your screen.

These mobile apps are convenient for translating text in real time, especially when you’re shopping in physical stores in China or browsing Taobao listings on your smartphone.

Taobao Agents: Bridging the Language Gap

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution and want to take advantage of Taobao’s full range of offerings, including customer service and shipping to international destinations, Taobao agents are your go-to option. Taobao agents are companies that specialize in helping international customers navigate the platform. They offer services such as purchasing items on your behalf, consolidating orders, handling customer service inquiries, and arranging international shipping.

Here’s how Taobao agents can assist with translation:

  • Product Listings: Taobao agents typically have bilingual websites or platforms where you can search for products in English. These agents provide translated product details, making it easier for you to browse and select items.
  • Communication: When you have questions about products or orders, Taobao agents can act as intermediaries between you and Chinese sellers. They can help translate your inquiries and relay responses, ensuring effective communication.
  • Order Placement: Taobao agents facilitate the entire shopping process, from selecting items to making payments. You can communicate with them in English, and they handle the interactions with Chinese sellers.
  • Quality Control: Taobao agents often inspect products for quality upon arrival at their warehouses. They provide photos and descriptions in English so you can review the condition of your items.
  • Consolidation and Shipping: If you order items from multiple sellers, Taobao agents can consolidate your purchases into a single shipment. They offer various international shipping options and provide tracking information in English.

While Taobao agents may charge service fees for their assistance, they offer a comprehensive solution for international shoppers, ensuring a smooth and worry-free Taobao experience.

Taobao Image Translation

In some cases, you may come across images or graphics on Taobao that contain important information. To translate text within images, you can use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Here’s how:

  • Online OCR Tools: Several online OCR tools allow you to upload images containing text, and they will extract and translate the text for you. Google Translate also has a built-in OCR feature that works with both the website and mobile app.
  • Mobile Apps: Some mobile apps are designed specifically for image translation. They can recognize and translate text from photos or screenshots. These apps are useful for translating product labels, specifications, and other image-based content.

Using OCR technology can be particularly handy when you encounter product packaging or labels that you need to understand before making a purchase.


Translating Taobao words into English doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and techniques at your disposal, you can confidently explore Taobao’s vast marketplace, discover exciting products, and make purchases that suit your preferences.