John Mueller Comments On Using Google Translate To Autogenerate Content
For businesses that target an international audience, it’s important to use strategic SEO content development to create relevant website content for multiple languages. SEO content creators have long been looking for ways to do this more efficiently, with some resorting to the use of translating tools like Google Translate. Google’s John Mueller recently discussed the topic, stating that such an idea could result in issues regarding quality and spam.
Can Google Translated Content Be Considered As Duplicates?
An SEO recently told Mueller that they were planning to convert their English-based website to the German language using a translator like Google Translate. They wanted to know if doing this would cause the search engine to consider the German content as a duplicate.
Mueller quickly replied that Google would not see the translated content as a duplicate. According to him, translated content is usually unique with different letters and words from the original webpage. Therefore, it is treated as different content, so SEOs do not have to worry about having these issues.
However, there are still some significant problems with using Google Translate, according to Mueller. He said that instead of duplicate content issues, SEOs should be worrying about quality issues.
If one uses an automatic translating tool like Google Translate, it would automatically translate the whole website into a different language. But using automatic translating tools would significantly lower the quality of the content because such translations are “not that great”.
Mueller then said that SEOs and webmasters could use a translation tool to update their website’s language initially, but they will have to rework it with human translators who know the new language well. This solution results in high-quality, fully translated content that does not sound awkward to native speakers.
Google Translated Content May Result In Manual Penalties
Interestingly, Mueller reframed the idea of creating different versions of the content from the point of view of autogenerating content.
Google defines autogenerated content as content that has been generated programmatically. These types of content were specifically designed to manipulate search rankings instead of help users, so the search engine company makes sure to hand out severe penalties for them.
Autogenerated content include, but are not limited to:
- Text translated by an automated translation tool without having a human translator curate or review it
- Text that does not make any sense to the readers but may or may not contain search keywords
- Text generated using automated synonymising techniques
Mueller said that over time, translation tools would improve to provide users with much better results. But for now, using automatic translating tools without a human translator editing the results would be problematic for the quality of the website’s content.
Aside from just quality issues, Mueller introduced the idea of such content violating spam rules like publishing autogenerated content. He said that if one uses translation tools at scale, Google’s web spam team might enter the picture, detecting the autogenerated content and potentially refusing to index it altogether.
The person who asked the question then suggested translating the content using automatic translation tools and hiring a freelance writer to rewrite the content. Mueller’s response was more optimistic, but he reiterated that the quality of the content is essential. He said that SEOs should place themselves in their readers’ shoes, asking them how they would feel if they saw a piece of low-quality content.
Most likely, site visitors would think that the content does not make much sense or wonder who the author was. They probably wouldn’t trust the page or even the entire website altogether. Low-quality content chases site visitors away, forcing them to look for better content on other, more trustworthy websites.
Google Translate For Autogenerating Content May Result In Manual Action
Mueller did not advise the person or any SEO to use Google Translate to create different versions of their original content in a different language. Although the tool helps communicate a webpage’s meaning to people from other countries and overcome language barriers, it produces an imperfect translation that is awkward to read. Human language is very nuanced, and the ability to create seamless translations is simply not possible with the technology we have today. Moreover, if SEOs or website owners use translation tools to automatically generate content, they could receive manual penalties from Google.
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