If you want to expand overseas by translating your website, online content or other online assets into another language, the natural inclination of many businesses might be to jump straight onto Google Translate – after all, it’s free. You might also think that Google’s natural leaning towards its own services, which actually led to a colossal fine of €2.4bn from the EU, might extend to pages translated by Google Translate. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.
Google penalises low-quality translations
If ever there was proof that Google Translate was not fit for professional business translations, it has to be the fact that Google itself doesn’t like it. As a search engine, Google strives to understand what browsers are searching for. It is committed to providing the highest quality, most relevant results to our searches and, if Google’s current market share is anything to go by, this is something it does pretty well.
When determining the quality and relevance of a web page, Google’s algorithms will look at a range of factors such as the originality of the page, the value of the information it provides and the accuracy of the copy, as well as a number of more technical SEO factors.
To prevent low-quality pages from featuring in its search engine results, Google discounts machine-translated content which is often awkward and error-laden. In fact, Google now classifies content created using translation tools as ‘automatically generated content,’ which violates its webmaster guidelines. And that includes web pages translated by Google Translate.
Google Translate could seriously damage your rankings
What all this means is that if you value your web traffic and your search engine rankings, you’ll stay well away from Google Translate. To make their content accessible to audiences from all over the world, some webmasters simply choose to install a Google Translate widget on their websites. This allows users to change the language of the text. However, the poor-quality translations and potential damage you can do to your search engine rankings make this an extremely dangerous approach to take.
You may also have trouble if you use Google Translate on blogs or websites that feature ads through Google AdSense. That’s because Google can disable accounts that are hosting adverts on websites that feature auto-generated content.
There’s no substitute for a professional translator
Although Google Translate is considered to be the best automated translation tool, it is by no means a replacement for a professional translator. Even if your budget does not stretch to using a professional translator to localise all your copy, at the very least, you should hire a professional to review the site and correct any mistakes before you go live. After all, your search engine traffic and rankings depend on it.
We can help!
At Linguistica International, our team of professional translators perform word-perfect translations for international brands like Santander, Orange and Manchester United. We also help smaller businesses put their best foot forward in new markets. For more information, please get in touch with our team.