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Using Google Translate to Autogenerate Content? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Mueller was asked a question about using Google Translate to create content in another language. He suggested there may be a quality issue and expanded his answer to reframe the issue as being about spam.

Is Content Created With Google Translate Considered Duplicate?

The person asking the question first said that he wanted to convert an English language site to German and asked if there would be any problems related to duplicate content.

The first question:

“…I have an English website. So now I want to make a German website. I want to ask this question about duplicate content issues.

So I have German content. Then… suppose use a translator like Google Translate to translate. So will Google tell me it is duplicate?”

Mueller answered:

“No. If it’s translated content it’s not duplicate content.”

He next addressed the issue of using Google Translate for creating the German content from English content.

John Mueller:

“I think that’s a different problem then, though.

So just in general, translated content is unique content. It’s different words, different letters on the page, so it’s different content.

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Depending on how you translate it, that would be more of a quality issue.

So if you use an automatic translating tool and you just translate your whole website automatically into a different language then probably we would see that as a lower quality website because often the translations are not that great.

But if you take a translation tool and then you rework it with maybe translators who know the language and you create a better version of that content, then that’s perfectly fine.”

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Google Translate Content Can Lead to Manual Actions

What’s interesting is how Mueller reframed the idea from the point of view of autogenerating content.

Mueller turns this into something that is about more than the somewhat vague concept of “quality content,” it now becomes about violating one of the big spam rules, which is the prohibition on publishing autogenerated content.

This is now a conversation that is clearly about spam.

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John Mueller continued his answer:

“And I imagine, over time, the translation tools will get better so that it works a little bit better. But at least for the moment, if you just automatically translate it, from a quality point of view, that would be problematic.

And even a step further, if that’s something that is done at scale, then the web spam team might step in and say, this is automatically generated content, we don’t want to index it.”

The person asking the question then suggested doing a translation and having a freelancer redo the content.

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Mueller replied by discussing quality in content.

He answered:

“I think that’s a good start. But I think you have to consider the quality aspect.

Just like what kind of content you would expect in your own language.

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Like if you’re searching in your language and you find a page and you read it,and it’s like…”

At this point Mueller shook his head to visualize the response of a user to low quality content.

Google’s John Mueller Illustrating Response to Poor Quality Content

Google's John Mueller shakes head to illustrate response of someone to poor quality contentJohn Mueller shakes his head to illustrate the response of a user to low quality contentGoogle's John Mueller shakes head to illustrate response of someone to poor quality content

Mueller continued:

“I don’t know who wrote this. This doesn’t make much sense. Then you wouldn’t trust that page, right?

Essentially it’s the same thing. You’re creating content for German users and if they look at it and say, “oh, this doesn’t make much sense then they’re going to go somewhere else.”

Google Translate for Autogenerating Content Can Result in Manual Action

John Mueller did not encourage the person to use Google Translate for creating content in different languages.

Google Translate works great for communicating the meaning of a page but it is not a perfect translation and it really does read awkwardly.

It’s easy to understand that using Google Translate for content creation might not be a good idea just because of the content quality issue.

John Mueller took the answer a step further by suggesting that using Google Translate at scale could result in a manual action for autogenerated content.

Citation

Watch Mueller answer question about using Google Translate to create website content

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Discussion begins at the 5:44 minute mark

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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