Since most sites have a website, the chances of making some sales abroad are higher than ever. However, you may find some difficulties communicating with the customer, especially if they don’t speak English well. This is when we try Google Translate. But is it good enough?
In this case, we will focus on the Spanish language because it is said that there are more than 400 million native speakers in the world. Can you just write out English text in Google Translate and send that to your customers?
Well, you can. Of course, it won’t be perfect, but in order to solve a problem with a customer inquiry, it may be enough.
However, if you sell to a Spanish audience from time to time, you may be tempted to publish some instructions in Spanish, or a kind of FAQ page that solves the most common issues, saves you some time and makes buying easier for your beloved clients.
In this case, I must say that Google Translate is not enough. While it gives you the general meaning of a message that you may send by e-mail, having a website page text translated by a bot in your site will compromise your business image and professionality. An e-mail written by a worker for a one-time solution is not the same as a website page in which everyone expects you to have invested time and effort.
Google translate has several problems:
1. Translations are too direct and sometimes don’t make sense. As a result, it is very likely that the tone of your business will be lost. If your site tries to be friendly with users and uses some informal expressions, the Spanish text will be translated word by word and won’t make sense.
2. The sentences will have a weird structure. Subordinate clauses in Spanish have a different order than in English. Google translations usually don’t solve this, so you will place subjects and verbs in the wrong positions.
3. When a word has several meanings in English, the bot is more likely to choose a wrong translation. For example, in many bot-translated sites, you will see back (meaning go back) translated as espalda (meaning the back of your body) instead of atrás (go back).
4. Copywriting will lose those catchy nuances it has now in your English version.
Taking into consideration that you likely do not need to translate your entire website, but only the instructions that explain the buying process and the most common questions, investing a little in a Spanish copywriter to write your website’s text could be worth the price. There are some tricks to make the service cheaper. For example, you may not be interested in someone translating your text, but someone rewriting your text in Spanish, keeping nuances and being natural for readers.
Some webmasters try to make the service cheaper by translating the text with Google Translate and then sending it to be proofread. Proofreading takes much less time than translating, so it should be cheaper. Actually, there are two versions of proofreading. The cheapest option is to ask someone to proofread the text, without giving this person the original source, so the proofreader just needs to check the Spanish text. Since this option takes much less time, it also will be cheaper. The second option consists in asking the proofreader to check the accuracy of the translation.
The first option is not a good idea, because since the bot translation is poor, the proofreader won’t be able to provide a good final text. Thus, proofreading is recommendable only when the translation is good enough, and for that you need a human translator; in other words, the second option, which you would think would make less sense since you want to lower the cost of the job.
What is clear is that you can’t publish a text full of grammar issues because of a bad translation. The image presented on a website is very important for business. It is highly recommended that you opt for professional translation services that can proofread at the same time. Once you take the step of offering some help in Spanish or any other language, you want to do it properly.