This is an update to my previous article Translate your gite website with help from Google

Quite simply, if you want to make life easier for visitors to your site whose first language isn’t English, you have two options:

  • Google widget
  • Personal translation

Google Language Translator widget

Google has revolutionised online translation and made it easy to add the Google language translator tool to any website.

google widget

Google Language Translator widget

Naturally, automated translations have their drawbacks.

Your text will never come across as clearly or unambiguously as it would if translated by a human being. On occasions, a foreign language version can even turn a positive statement into a negative.

That said, most us of recognise that the Google Language Translator tool is imperfect. So if something reads a bit strange or confusing, we’ll usually guess it’s a mistranslation.

On the plus side, the Google tool is fairly simple to set up and add to a site once you know how.

If you would like to include the Google Language Translator tool in your new site, I’ll be happy to set it up for you for just £20.

I can add it to your sidebar, above the text in individual pages and in the footer. This can show the standard Google widget or a version with clickable flags.

However, the flag for English is a split USA and British flag, which is not to everyone’s taste, so I usually go with the non-flag version.


Flag widget that links to Google translator

How the Google widget looks on the page

How the Google widget looks on the page

How the flag widget looks on the page

How the flag widget looks on the page

How to correct any mistakes Google Language Translator makes

UPDATE Google discontinued support for its Corrections service in March 2015

A widget can only do what it’s programmed to do. This is fine if you simply want to give people a way to translate your site’s content and get the same results as if they copied and pasted the English text into the Google Translate page.

But the good news is Google now lets you manage the translation of your page. You can actually log in and edit the suggested translation.

So if you do happen to spot or learn about any howlers or things lost in translation, you can take action and control what Google delivers when people translate your content.

Google Translator Manager

Google Translator Manager

If the Google Language Translator widget is so good, why bother with a human translation?

If you’re ever used Google translation to convert a foreign language site to English, you’ll appreciate there are some things human beings do better than computers.

And translation is one – at least at the moment.

To explore the difference in more detail, I did a little experiment. You can read about it in this article: English-to-French translation of a gite website – Google Translator vs native French speaker

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