Everybody reads English, right? Actually, they don’t. In fact many people who do read English often prefer to also be able to surf in their own language. The web is a global phenomenon and recognizing and dealing with that can boost your presence. Putting a web page translator on your site can give you some significant advantages. But there are a few details you need to understand.
Translation, whether we’re talking about web site translators or any other form of translation services, is a complex activity. Language, or at least our own, might seem simple and intuitive. That’s a kind of magical illusion caused by how completely our heads have been filled with our native language since birth. Unless you’re one of the few who have a real gift for languages, learning a new one will pretty quickly make it clear that language is complicated.
Languages always reflect their roots, their growth and change over time and the cultures that use them. Eskimos may have 37 words for snow, but an Egyptian isn’t likely to understand why, much less really get the differences. That’s an extreme example, but the truth is that you can say things in one language that are nearly impossible to say as simply or as clearly in another.
Web site translator programs are basically mechanical. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that no translation program currently available does a great job of translating. How good a job even the very best and most expensive commercially available translation programs do depends on the source and target languages. The closer they are to each other grammatically, structurally and culturally, the better the translation. However, it will still be approximate.
General purpose machine translation for websites is available at prices ranging from free to quite expensive. One of the better engines that’s easily available is the Google translation web service. Google has lots of processing power, a massive worldwide presence and a remarkable willingness to provide quality services. It doesn’t mean though that the translated pages will always make overall sense. What you get is an approximation of the original content.
You also see weird stuff like people’s names being translated and untranslated words and even phrases. By now, you’re probably wondering why bother?
Let’s say you get a web site language translator that handles 9 languages in addition to English. You’ve just multiplied your site by 9. Not only that, but those new pages are probably a lot more unique than the originals. A lot of sites use PLR and free reprint articles. Even if you write articles, you probably submit them to article directories and ezines and they end up on other sites. But not in German, Portuguese, Arabic or Simplified Chinese. Or those other five languages.
And if you’ve got AdSense on your site, it’s going to be there on most of the new pages, maybe even in the new language. Interesting to think about, isn’t it?
Plus there’s some evidence that the new pages are attractive to spiders. And that’s very nice since they also revisit your other pages.
Some translator scripts don’t create static pages. Every time someone wants to see a page in another language, they throw up a new translation. Not really the ideal situation, right?
Some scripts that do create static pages don’t modify the links on the page. That means the visitor has to go back and forth, back and forth, clicking around to get pages in their languages. Also not so good.
Very few web site translator scripts will create a translated pages site map type file for the spiders. While the smarter spiders can follow the dynamic links, a “map” file certainly makes it easier.
And almost none of the web site translators, will create a Google xml SiteMap of the translated pages – or include your source pages in the original language in the xml SiteMap.
We’re all looking for an edge in the battle for traffic and the reality here is that, despite the shortcomings of any machine translation, a web site translator can provide you with an added edge in spidering, indexing, and attracting more visitors. The more capable the web site translator you get is, the better that edge will be.