Please don't use Google Translate!

by          4 min read

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Many of our clients are inquiring about reaching speakers of foreign languages - in their home contries or even locally. They often bring up machine translation services, such as Google Translate.

Google Translate generates instant automatic translations of your website in 60+ languages. Google promises that Website Translator lets you “customize and improve the translations especially for your website” and lists the following key features:

Google Translate Key Features

  • Instantly translate your website into 60+ languages
  • Customize and improve the translation of your website 
  • Collect and use translation suggestions from your users 
  • Invite editors to manage translations and suggestions 

Sounds good? Before you hit the “Install” button, let’s first dig a bit deeper. Do you value your website visitors who speak foreign languages? Then please ask yourself: Do you really want to rely on your website visitors a.k.a. current and prospective customers to point out translation errors on your website? 

Machine translations are useful for online translators are a wonderful tool for getting a basic idea of what a website is about, looking up words you don’t know, or having fun with friends. However, machine translations are not always accurate. The software literally translates (word for word) the text which often results in grammatically incorrect, if not completely incoherent, text. 

Remembering that your website is the public portal to your organization; what you’re really saying with a sloppy or erroneous translation is that you don’t care much about your clients who speak those languages.

Ackuna developed Bad Translator to show just how funny things can get. The program translates text back and forth using machine translation, such as Babelfish, Bing, FreeTranslation.com, and Google Translator, then displays the final English translation. Here is a fine example:

Original text:

"We specialize in building fine custom homes. We can also handle your complete home renovations, updates to your kitchens and baths and home additions. Whether you are building a starter home or designing a waterfront estate, we are your custom builder."

Translated and then translated back into English it will read like this:
"We specialize in custom home build. We can also provide your kitchen and bathroom fixes and updates of the family, you came home and work. If you build a house or patterns of coastal areas start, we owned a custom generator"

Lesson learned: If you’re serious about your business, you just can’t rely on an online translator. A better approach would be to ensure that the public image your organization is portraying to your foreign target audience is just as flawless as your corporate image in your home country.

So what are we suggesting instead? Think about why you provided the Google Translation link in the first place. The purpose of the translation of your website is to connect with your audience who speaks other languages and to build trust and confidence in your company.

So if you want to translate your website, you should do it right and invest into a professional custom translation of your website content. Yes, it won't be free, but what is your reputation worth?

Benefits of a Custom Website Translation:

• Engage speakers of foreign languages
• Enlarge your reach into other countries
• Protect your company’s reputation
• Increase leads and sales

You want your website to appear on the first page of search engines, right? Well, incorrect translations can miss inclusion of important keywords, and in turn, negatively affect your ranking. Want some more SEO tips to help your business thrive? Download our free ebook to help improve your local SEO.

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Topics: website translations, machine translations, copy translation, Google Translate, custom website translations, website copy writing

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