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Does translated content cause a duplicate content issue?

Does translated content cause a duplicate content issue? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from New Delhi, India. Yo asks, “Will multilingual translations of one’s content across different websites attract duplicate content penalties?” That’s a really good question because the simple answer is no. That is, the same content in English is different than the same content in French. So if you had identical content in English and then in English again, in theory that’s duplicate content. And we might want to return only one copy of the English content. But if you have English here and French here, it’s really quite different. So it’s not the case that you’d get a duplicate content penalty for having English versus French. Now one thing to be aware about is if you have written that content yourself, so you’ve written it for English, you’ve written it for French, or you’ve had it translated by hand for French, everything’s great. The world is good. Life is rosy. Be happy. But if what you’ve done is taken the English copy for your website, and thrown it into Google Translate, and done nothing more than auto-translate it into a bunch of different languages, that can be considered spamming, because in essence, it’s auto-generated. It hasn’t had a human’s eyes looking at it, figuring out what the idioms are, polishing it, that sort of thing. So I would recommend that, if you have presence in three countries, make sure you have good content in those three countries. But don’t just throw it up in 38 or 40 countries, because you can do Translate automatically. Often, while Google Translate and other translate tools are much better than they were even a few years ago, there’s still a difference in quality between something that a truly skilled person working, who speaks natively in that language, compared to just having it be done automatically. So to recap, you won’t have any issue if you have English versus, say, French, if they’re completely different languages. But I would not recommend that you just take your content and automatically translate it into a ton of languages. Instead, make sure that the languages that you really do have real translations for or really hand vetted translations for, that those are crawlable. But then take the automatic stuff and block that out with your robots.txt until you can get a hand vetted translation for each of those other languages. Hope that helps.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: