I’ve just discovered Google’s Translate Gadget, a simple line of code which allows visitors to a Website to have it translated into various languages.
I’ve checked out Moortown Primary School’s website, which uses it, and what is impressive is that the appearance of the site stays exactly the same. The only thing that changes is the language in which the copy is written.
To me, this has advantages and inconvenients: on the one hand, the site keeps its visual identity and almost anyone visiting it can have access to the information it contains, which is great. The big downside is that the French translation is very, very poor. Grammatical errors, bad translations, nonsensical sentences abound. The reader gets the gist of the message, but only after spending a painful moment trying to decode it. It is very clear that the translation is provided automatically by Google, but I wonder whether the reader might not forget that fact during the course of her browsing and in the end, have a poor image of a very badly-written site. Could this impact negatively on a brand/company’s image? Might the parents of a potential student be put-off by a site full of grammatical mistakes? After all, this is the place where their child will learn to read and write. Do its pros outweigh its cons?
Why not give it a go and tell me what you think?