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John Mueller was asked a question regarding Google Translate, Mueller was asked how Google Translate can be used to create content in an additional language. The answer reframed the issue as being about spam and suggested that there may be a quality issue.
First, the person asking the question said that he wanted to convert an English language site to German and if there would be any issues with duplicate content. The person asked: “…I have an English website. So now I want to make a German website. I want to ask this question about duplicate content issues. So I have German content. Then… suppose use a translator like Google Translate to translate. So will Google tell me it is duplicate?”
“No. If it’s translated content it’s not duplicate content.” Then he addressed the issue of using Google Translate to create German content from English content. “I think that’s a different problem then, though. So just in general, translated content is unique content. It’s different words, different letters on the page, so it’s different content.
Depending on how you translate it, that would be more of a quality issue. So if you use an automatic translating tool and you just translate your whole website automatically into a different language then probably we would see that as a lower quality website because often the translations are not that great. But if you take a translation tool and then you rework it with maybe translators who know the language and you create a better version of that content, then that’s perfectly fine.”
Google Translate and Auto-generated content:
The interesting thing about Mueller’s argument is how he reframed it from the perspective of auto-generated content. Rather than just focusing on the somewhat vague concept of “quality content,” Mueller turned this into a violation of one of the big spam rules, which is that auto-generated content is prohibited. Clearly, this is a spam-related conversation.
John Mueller continued his answer: “And I imagine, over time, the translation tools will get better so that it works a little bit better. But at least for the moment, if you just automatically translate it, from a quality point of view, that would be problematic. And even a step further, if that’s something that is done at scale, then the webspam team might step in and say, this is automatically generated content, we don’t want to index it.”
The person who asked the question proposed doing a translation and having a freelancer redo the content. Using Google Translate to create content in multiple languages was not encouraged by John Mueller. While Google Translate is useful for communicating the meaning of a page, it’s not a perfect translation, and it reads awkwardly.
In light of the content quality issue, it can be understood why Google Translate might not be the best choice for content creation. Mueller went on to suggest that using Google Translate at scale might result in a manual action for auto-generated content.