People love short cuts. People particularly love short cuts that they think will reach 1000s of new customers. So, its easy to understand why people might love automatic translation tools.
- "I’ve just translated my site into 12 languages by installing a module! Cool!
- "Hey, my website’s in Chinese now … thats a billion new customers!"
However, this is a clear case where easy is not best.
The key thing to remember is you don’t want automatically translated pages to be indexed. Do not use a solution which creates pages such as mydomain.com/es/, mydomain.com/en/, mydomain.com/de/ and so. Thats 100s of pages of extra content – all of it low value and barely understandable.
Let me provide you with an example from Google’s Translation tools which is actually one of the very best. This is the translation of Joomla.de’s What is Joomla? page:
Joomla! Is a so-called content management system (CMS), which is a simple way the contents of a website design. It is suitable for small and medium-sized outlets, but also big portals have already implemented this system. Is very easy to use and all that … the user. Another feature is its flexibility. With the help of a start, it’s not complicated! .
And thats between two closely related languages. Imagine the mess that will result when you jump from Greek to Chinese or from Japanese to Arabic. The best the machines can do is produce text that is understandable, but its certainly not anything that you’d want people to confuse with something you’ve written. Some people also think that search engines punish bad grammar and spelling. I’m not entirely sure thats true but it is another reason not to allow your machine-translated pages to be indexed. Make sure that automatic translations take place off your site.
Modules We Recommend
- Yahoo Translation Module. Uses the Babelfish translation engine.
- Joomla Translation (JTrans Pro) Component. The old version only! We use it here at Alledia. Notice when you click on the flag icons, it will take you to Google’s site rather than creating an extra page on Alledia.com. ($39.95) The latest version of the JTransPro commits all the sins mentioned above. You can see how the extra pages are created on their demo site (French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish etc.). If you buy it, ask them for the old version.