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multiple languages of the same content
anyone have any experience

 10:21 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

We have a site of almost 1000 pages of 250-300 words each in English. We are now looking at using an automated language interpretator and converting these in several languages, then having them proof read and ammended as needed.

Will google see this as duplicate content?

Thanks in advance.




 10:26 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

I shall assume that you are referring to some sort of "babelfish" solution, if so you may want to go the whole way and get professional translation done.

as for the duplicate content, I dont think you have anything to worry about.

some excellent threads:



(from the impression I get, translation and foreign languages is the hot topic in 2003, maybe there should be a separate forum on this subject).


 10:26 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Doug - you should have no problems whatsoever with Google, or any other engine.
Translated content is different content for any machine.


 10:29 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Cheers.....anyone used the google web page translation tool? Or know anyone who can do it for a good price:)


Ps. Shak.....do you live on line:)


 10:40 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)


I could name you a handful of very good translators, however that would be unfair and aginst the terms of this site ( I think )

Instead post a message in the Commercial Forum [webmasterworld.com]

I am sure you will be contacted by members willing to do the job professionally without ripping you off.


(as for me living online, long story, but I have to be online at certain hours of the day supervising a team of 6, problem is most of the time I just lounge at Webmasterworld)


 10:56 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

<Doug - you should have no problems whatsoever with Google, or any other engine.
Translated content is different content for any machine.

I have some pages which are translated and they all got PR 0 (for a couple of months already). My main page (in English) had a PR5.

I'm quite sure Google treats them as duplicate contents, sigh...


 6:26 am on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> I'm quite sure Google treats them as duplicate contents, sigh...

I'm going to stop short of saying this is impossible, but it's about as close to impossible as I can imagine. Not only would it be a vast task to write this kind of pattern-matching algorithm, but why would Google even bother? Having information in multiple languages is quite a substantial benefit to web surfers.

BTW last time I checked, both Google and Alta Vista used the Systran engine. But for some reason in all the testing I did Google's translation was better and had fewer gaps, so I now offer a Google translation button to my foreign visitors.


 6:37 am on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

dougs and eyeinthesky,

also check this thread:


From my own experience with about 400 pages translated in five languages (more or less exact copies), never seen any penalty.

A penalty does not follow any logic.

I bet Google would love every single page on the web to be translated in every language.

Googles algo works best if there are as many "votes" = links from independant sites/pages as possible.

Most of the sexy [labs.google.com...] stuff for the moment only would work well in English because there is enough interrelated material IMO.


 7:13 am on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)


As others have said there is no problem with duplicated content.

But, the automated language translators really suck...AV's Bablefish and Google's included.

Douglas Adams must be most upset at the concept of being interpreted in such a poor fashion over at AV;)

If you are going to do the multi-language deal then I suggest getting a number of good translators to do it for you from scratch.

I tried the Bablefish route and it all had to be thrown away as complete junk. AV Bablefish and Google translation is really only of any use to people who eat lots of peanuts and have towels permanently placed over their heads. If they can't see how bad it is you can't either;)

Shak made the best suggestion for finding good translators above :) Be careful though, cheap is not usually desirable in this area from my experience ;)


 7:20 am on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)


Google translate and Bablefish can be very helpful if you do your timing well.

I had a Spanish guy come in for translation work in September but had the pages already "Bablefish-translated" before so that Google would have them in the index when the guy was ready to replace them with the real translation.

Of course your cache shows the old version if you allow it to, but it can speed up things by a month or two if you are in a rush.


 7:31 am on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)


I appreciate that using automated translators are quick and easy (that's why I used them), but I think we agree the contents produced is practically unreadable to those of the target tongue.

Therefore you may get "quicker" hits by getting into the index faster using these devices, but will you actually make any sales when people can see your pages make little to no sense?

Looking back I would have preferred to keep credibility and stay with "English" only until a good translation was performed.


 12:41 pm on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

jomaxx, vitaplease,

I agree that translated pages should not be interpreted as duplicate content but I use Alta Vista translation service which uses Systran. Google uses Systran?

Then maybe somewhere along the line, Google translated the pages back to English and see them as duplicates?


 5:16 pm on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google used to identify the translation service as Systran's. There is no indication of that now that I can find, but unless they built their own system in-house (which I very very much doubt), they are probably still using that engine.

But the question is WHY? Why would they go to the trouble of translating zillions of web pages? Why would they want to filter out that content anyway?

IMO what they do now is not so much look for duplicate "content" in the abstract, as look for mirror sites, which are common on the Internet and can really clog up the search results in some cases. Other types of duplication they are good at weeding out are:
- www. and non-www. addressing of the same pages
- domain.com and domain.com/index.html
- dynamic URL's with parameters that do not influence page content

... but none of this has to do with the underlying content.

P.S. The machine translations are a huge aid to making a foreign site usable, but I totally agree that they suck in comparison with human translation. And no matter how much I stress that clicking this button will take you to a MACHINE translation provided by GOOGLE, I still get people writing to me personally to quibble about semantics.


 6:44 pm on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Awhile ago I had to decide whether to have two sites, one in English and one in Spanish, or one site with some of the content translated.

Im glad I chose the latter, as the Spanish reading visitors get pulled in by the Spanish keywords, and then they usually go all over the other pages in English. So many people speak more than one language... why not put it all one one site?

Also side by side translations let Americans, in particular, know that there are many other people in this world (fight against continental isolation).

In short, I am thrilled that my site includes both languages. Out of 200 pages about 15 are in Spanish.

Im thinking of adding some other pages in other languages.

I did, by the way, have Human translators.

Google, in particular, is giving me a very high rating
on the Spanish keywords. While the same keywords in
English are back several pages or more.

I encourage anyone who wants to try and mix languages on the same site.



 1:01 am on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have my site translated (not by a translating program - I would not recommend this route to anyone!) and my pages haven't been penalized for this. I hope they won't in the future, but in order for me to reel in international business this is a definate must. Another must when translating pages into another language is: you must use keywords in their language also. :)
And, I too encourage anyone to offer their site in multiple languages is possible. This has helped me out so much. Most Europeans speak English anyway, but I've noticed they appreciate it when an American site goes the extra mile to show that they care.


 1:39 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a few points to add on this subject.

1) Douglas Adams is dead. :( So would be turning in his grave.
2) Translation tools are really bad. I cannot emphasise the really enough in that statement.
3) Local universities are a good source of translators. Just put an ad on a notice board in the languages dept. You will find alot of native foreign language speakers in the UK learning (or perfecting) thier English skills. These people are quite willing to do a few hours a week translating things into their native tongue for a little extra beer money. You can generally dictate the pay rate too as most have never had experience of commercial translation rates in the UK.
But remember, don't treat them as slave labour or your site could end up as garbage (or just plain rude). Treat them fairly and you will get good translations at a rate below the going commercial rate. It is in their interests to undercut the professional translators.


 3:08 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

stage one: Google does NOT penalise identical content in different languages...I've got 14 PR7 directories to prove it

stage two: get a proper translation or just stick a link up to Systrans

[ericjarvis.co.uk ] has a few things you might find useful


 2:52 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have 3 languages on my website: Portuguese, English, and Spanish.

No problems and this website is up since 1999.

New languages are a great marketing tool.
Our next step is French and German. Also planning Italian and in the long term Chinese and Japanese.

It is also good if you can get a local domain. For example we have a .com and a .com.br (Brazil). Brazilians type .com.br by default.


 3:10 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

indirectly related to this thread.

our experience is that to make real impact, translated pages should be accompanied by corresponding regional methods of payments (provided you are selling something), such as SMS for 7 or 8 countries in Europe, dialers in particular Europe, Korean specific, german etc.

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