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  • Writer's pictureThomas Nelan

What happens when you use Google Translate to localize your website to Japanese?

Updated: Jan 30

Japanese translation can be expensive. Not only that, it can take a Japanese translator a lot of time to perform the translation with the care and attention to detail it deserves. With Google and machine learning becoming ever more clever, it can be tempting to avoid using the services of a translator altogether and instead go straight to Google Translate for a free and fast translation. But are there any problems with using Google Translate to translate a website to Japanese?

This question came up in a Google Webmaster Forum and Google’s own Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller took the time to explain the dangers of using Google Translate to translate websites to another language.

His message was clear, Google does not like auto-generated content, not even content auto-generated by their own Google Translate program!

He explained that if Google determines that all or even a large part of a website contains auto-generated content, Google will remove it from their index (i.e. their search results) altogether. He went on to explain that although this may sound harsh, it is the right thing to do because content which has been auto-generated for search engines is both a bad idea and a waste of their resources.

Not only that; he goes on to explain that because directly using auto-generated content actually goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, not only would relying on language auto-generation tools such as Google Translate to translate your website lead to your website being removed from their search results entirely, in the short-term it also demonstrates a lack of respect for your customers.

John finishes by recommending that instead of using the output created by tools such as Google Translate, the user should at the very least have it corrected by a human translator before it is put online.

There is a saying in SEO circles that the most expensive thing you can buy is a cheap link. After reading what John Mueller has to say, the translators at Japanology Translation believe it's safe to say that the most SEO-unfriendly thing you can put on your site is a free translation.

Tom Nelan- B.C.L., B.B.S. (M.K.T.), (New York Qualified Lawyer).

Mitsuko Miyake Nelan- B.A. Japanese Literature: Chofu University, Tokyo.

SEO Japanese translation


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