Leosghost - 11:06 pm on Mar 23, 2011 (gmt 0)
Machine translations are awful..and even the most expensive software has to be fed such simplified versions of the first language in order to get a translation in the target language that still requires hours of correction for even a few hundred words on a simple subject..that it's not worth using it/them.
I've tested many software "tools" ( for others )..you have to feed them semi literate 7 year old child level "pidgin" English to get out near totally illiterate and near incomprehensible 5 year old level French..( and vice versa ) which has to be nearly totally rewritten to get to the level of a semi literate 7 year old ( with a severely restricted vocabulary ) non French born ( immigrant ) kid who's skipped school for 50% of his /her time since they got here ..
Much easier and better just to go from a literate 7 year old child in English to a literate 7 year old child in French ( or vice versa ) ..or any other "language pair" and age or "target demographic" ..via good human translation ..which isn't that expensive as an investment ..long term .
The same applies for all other languages ( according to fluent speakers of other languages that I know who have run the same tests in their own language(s)) ..don't use machine translation ..it sucks .
Google's online language translation tools get you from the 7 year old to the semi literate 7 year old step ..without going through the flaky incoherent 5 year old step in the middle ..and at no expense ..but the result is still crap compared to actual fluent human translation ..and any translation also depends on your target demographic ..one doesn't use the same vocabulary and syntax to communicate with a 14 year old as to a 40 year old and a 64 year old..even for the same subject matter ..not if you want to "connect" with each of them.
And then there is the question of regional accents in writing and the changes that makes in the vocabulary you need to use ..and of course the subject matter ..can it be handled jokingly or is it serious sales or scientific ..
I think Matt is saying ..real good human translation is best and will get you better ranking and even better still ranking if you also give us all the other "easy to read" signals regarding TLD(s) and hosting etc .( and my personal advice is also to get your incoming links in the correct language to the correct pages and if possible from the sites with the correct TLD(s)..and again if possible hosted in the correct countries )..believe me that helps a great deal ;-)
Then he hints "Google's" tools are a way behind human translation ( obvious but worth saying again ), but better than software translation ( he is so right there !) ..and that if you use Google tools you should still bear in mind to give them as many of the signals as per "above" as you can.
Link to their translation tools from your pages if you can't get human translation done for cost reasons or whatever ..I agree ( never thought I'd say that regarding translation tools ..but Google's are way waaay ahead of any commercial tool ) with him 100%.
He is quite clear that autotrans software doesn't score well with them and is considered by them to be a bad user experience ( rightly so ) and will affect your ranking negatively.
And in passing he reinforces the point that auto generated content ( as is being discussed in a "spinner "thread here ) is easy for them to spot ..they don't believe ( again rightly so ) that it gives a good user experience ..and using it will result negatively on your rankings.
And before it comes up ..ehow is not auto generated ..it's almost always shallow and frequently inaccurate or "lifted" and "respun" ..but the "spinning" plagiarising is done by humans ..and Google can spot and down rank machine spinning now ..
They may get to down ranking human spinning of plagiarised content later ..we can but hope ..but that is more complex for any combination of "algos" to identfy.