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Is using Google Translate for our website a mistake? I'm getting mixed feedback.
Google Translate is a great tool for gaining the gist of content in another language, and it can be helpful in translating purely informational content. However, Google Translate has serious limitations when it comes to the accuracy of even remotely creative content.
Most companies that are considering localizing their websites (i.e., adapting content and visuals for international markets) are doing so because they see an opportunity to sell their products, services and, ultimately, their brands to customers abroad.
In order to truly engage with international customers, the quality of your translated content – on your website, advertising and marketing collateral – is absolutely key to making the most of the market opportunity.
A poor translation, whether produced by a machine like Google Translate or a low-cost translation service, conveys the wrong message to your international audiences. Your international customers may understand your translated content, but they’re unlikely to feel connected to your brand or trust your product unless their experience of your in-language content is authentic. And unless your online content is optimized for local search trends, you risk not being found by your potential buyers in simply translating your US English. Google Translate cannot optimize your content for search.
We would advise against using Google Translate to provide translated content to international audiences, unless your sole intention is to provide nothing more than basic information. If you want to inspire action in your international audience, and achieve international growth, then it’s a good idea to work with a professional localization service provider and consider not only how to provide quality local content, but also what digital tactics you should employ locally to drive traffic to your website and inspire local user engagement.