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#Googletrans to serve alternate languages bad for SEO?

     
12:35 am on Oct 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My client would like their Spanish site to have an English version simply for users. They don't want the English version indexed in the English search engine.

I noticed a competitor using /#googtrans(en|es) to accomplish this. In the source of the English version, it's still Spanish, so all Google sees is the Spanish canonical version. No need for hreflang.

Seems like a solid way to serve content in a different language while only keeping the canonical language indexed. Anyone have experience using Google Translate for their website, and if so, any problems?

I'll follow up if I find any. Thanks!
5:04 pm on Oct 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do you really, really want to suggest to users that you're putting the weight of your authority behind a machine translation? If users want that, they can easily do it on their own initiative without getting you involved; I see it in logs all the time.

Out of curiosity: have you fed a few random pages of your client's Spanish site into G Translate to see what it looks like? Are the results everything you would hope for? (If yes, what on earth is the reading level of the target audience?)
6:37 pm on Oct 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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GoogleTrans may have improved over the years because the last time I hired freelance translators, a lot of them were feeding my pages to it to save time.
9:05 pm on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Lucy24

Good points. I wonder, do you know of a better alternative to serving an English version? Our current idea is a build out a smaller no-index English version of the site (since only a few of our users want English) on a different domain and link to it from homepage of Spanish site.
12:53 am on Oct 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The question isn't really, How many users want your content in English? The question is, How many want it in English and don't know how to get it translated on the fly?

Don't some browsers even offer to translate every page they meet that isn't in English? Or am I thinking of search results where G jumps up and down excitedly asking if I want them to translate the page?
10:36 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@lucy24

Hmm I'm not sure about browsers that offer translation. I do know the Google translate plug-in offers trash translation. And creating English versions of every page on the site is far too much work with not enough reward.

We're going to create simple English site for our brand and link to it from home, possibly top nav.
11:21 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I must be a minority of one. I don't allow "translate" ... serving a 403.

Part of that is to prevent scraping. The other part is the translations are simply not up to snuff, and getting WORSE as the years go by.

That said, for languages NOT ENGLISH (my native) I do offer VETTED translations for market/audiences where it makes sense to do so. That way I KNOW the translation is correct ...

Do I use the translate services the SEs offer? Of course, but I do not depend on them being correct ... and therein is the biggest problem and my reason for not allowing it.

YMMV

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