Google’s Mueller was asked a question about using Google Translate to create content in another language. He suggested there may be a quality issue and expanded his answer to reframe the issue as being about spam.
Is Content Created With Google Translate Considered Duplicate?
The person asking the question first said that he wanted to convert an English language site to German and asked if there would be any problems related to duplicate content.
The first question:
“…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.”
He next addressed the issue of using Google Translate for creating the 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 Content Can Lead to Manual Actions
What’s interesting is how Mueller reframed the idea from the point of view of autogenerating content.
Mueller turns this into something that is about more than the somewhat vague concept of “quality content,” it now becomes about violating one of the big spam rules, which is the prohibition on publishing autogenerated content.
This is now a conversation that is clearly about spam.
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 web spam team might step in and say, this is automatically generated content, we don’t want to index it.”
The person asking the question then suggested doing a translation and having a freelancer redo the content.
Mueller replied by discussing quality in content.
“I think that’s a good start. But I think you have to consider the quality aspect.
Just like what kind of content you would expect in your own language.
Like if you’re searching in your language and you find a page and you read it,and it’s like…”
At this point Mueller shook his head to visualize the response of a user to low quality content.
Google’s John Mueller Illustrating Response to Poor Quality Content
“I don’t know who wrote this. This doesn’t make much sense. Then you wouldn’t trust that page, right?
Essentially it’s the same thing. You’re creating content for German users and if they look at it and say, “oh, this doesn’t make much sense then they’re going to go somewhere else.”
Google Translate for Autogenerating Content Can Result in Manual Action
John Mueller did not encourage the person to use Google Translate for creating content in different languages.
Google Translate works great for communicating the meaning of a page but it is not a perfect translation and it really does read awkwardly.
It’s easy to understand that using Google Translate for content creation might not be a good idea just because of the content quality issue.
John Mueller took the answer a step further by suggesting that using Google Translate at scale could result in a manual action for autogenerated content.
Watch Mueller answer question about using Google Translate to create website content
Discussion begins at the 5:44 minute mark