Pros and Cons of Google Translator

7/22/2010
Written by Aaron McLean

Many clients have been asking about using Google Translator on their Websites. There are pros and cons. We are happy to share our thoughts with you:

Pros:
Google's service is free.
Easy to implement.
Relatively easy to customize.
Cons:
Google cannot translate content inside of a Flash animation or within an image file (which means, only HTML text content on the page can be translated - you're not getting a true/full localization of content).
Google cannot redesign a page's elements to compensate for the extra space, or reduced space, caused by shifting text (number of characters increasing or decreasing) - this can sometimes cause a page's layout to be compromised.
Google does not understand context - it only understands words, often causing a thought or concept to be misconstrued during translation.
By default, Google will attempt to translate all words on the page - this means that if you have PM College written in HTML text on the page, it will translate PM College from English in to Spanish as such: universidad pm. For this reason, we would need to work together to create an exception list - this being a list of words and phrases that we want Google to ignore during it's translation process. This list needs to be custom coded in to Google's functionality.

Pros:

  • Google's service is free.
  • Easy to implement.
  • Relatively easy to customize.

Cons:

  • Google cannot translate content inside of a Flash animation or within an image file - such as a navigation tab, an advertisement graphic, an image used with a piece of jquery or Ajax functionality or an embedded photo caption (which means, only HTML text content on the page can be translated - you're not getting a true/full localization of content).
  • Google cannot redesign a page's elements to compensate for the extra space, or reduced space, caused by shifting text (number of characters increasing or decreasing) - this can sometimes cause a page's layout to be compromised.
  • Google does not understand context - it only understands words, often causing a thought or concept to be misconstrued during translation.
  • By default, Google will attempt to translate all words on the page - this means that if you have your brand name written in HTML text on the page, it will translate your brand name from English in to the target language. For this reason, an exception list must be created - this being a list of words and phrases that we want Google to ignore during it's translation process. This list needs to be custom coded in to Google's functionality. The list should include brand names, product names, trademarked phrases, specific marketing language that only works when constructed properly, key words and phrases that are proprietary to your brand, etc.