5 Reasons why you should not use an automatic Translation Tool to translate your Website
Sometimes you see websites that have a small translation widget at the top to automatically translate the website into several languages through only one click. Usually, these tools use google translate or similar services. At the first glance that seems like an easy way to reach a lot of people and with google translate it is even for free. But with most things that sound too good to be true, there is a catch. Here we show you why these tools do not work in your favor.
1. A Machine Translation Tool will not translate Images
Google translate and most other machine translation services cannot understand images. If you have text on images like for example banners or buttons, a machine translation cannot read the text on them. Therefore, these images will remain in the language they were in initially. This will result in a website that uses several languages at once and is confusing for the visitor.
2. Google will not index the automatically translated Versions
Google does not index automatically translated versions of your website. According to their policy,Google does not index automatically generated content. That includes “text translated by an automated tool without human review or curation before publishing.”
Even if you use a translation tool you will still only be ranked for the original language version of your website. If your website is in English and you offer an automatic translation to Japanese, no Japanese person can find your website through a Japanese search query. And if no Japanese speaker can find your website is there even a point in offering a translation?
3. Translation accuracy is still an issue for Machine Translation
Machine translation is getting better but is still incorrect and sounds unnatural in some regards. As you cannot refine the automatic translation, it will probably result in a bad user experience. In the worst case, it might even have legal consequences if incorrect translation causes damages. You as the owner are responsible for the content of your website after all.
4. Site speed and Layout might suffer due to automatic Translation Tools
The more widgets and add-ons you add to your website the slower it can get. Site speed is an important criterion for how Google evaluates your website. A slow website can harm your search rank. Also, if your layout has certain restrictions as to the length of words or text the automatic translation cannot adjust accordingly. This could also mess up the layout of your website. Are you willing to take these risks for the minimal benefits you get?
As a machine translation cannot understand the concept of catchphrases it will translate them literally like every other text. Catchphrases are something that should be transcreated based on the target market rather than just translated. But a machine translation cannot provide such services.
6. What should you do instead?
Instead of using machine translation, the better option is to find a reliable translation provider that can translate the content of the website for you. A translation provider will be able to work with images and can provide a natural-sounding translation. They can also adjust the translation for SEO in the target country according to your personal preferences. If you are currently considering translating your website into another language you can also refer to this article, where we explain how to approach such a large translation project step by step.