Google Translate is a major name in translation services thanks to its neural machine translation network, which translates sentences within their specific context.
This technology, which uses machine learning, is incredibly useful for websites that want to translate content into different languages. And you can set up a Google Translate API connection and use Google’s neural network to translate your content through Google Cloud.
But as we discuss below, Google Translate by itself is not practical for every use case. Specifically, it’s not ideal for translating your website, whether we’re talking about an eCommerce store, a website for your agency, or a blog. In this post, we look closely at why this is the case and provide a much more efficient alternative for turning your website multilingual—Weglot.
Want to translate your website today? You can translate your entire website and have it live within minutes with Weglot. Start your free trial today.
Reasons you need a Google Translate alternative
Google Translate is a wonderful tool that fulfills quick, personal translation needs: understanding foreign menus, signs, or basic instructions. But when you’re looking for a solution that will deliver accurate website translations, there is software that is much better suited to the task.
1. It doesn’t have editing control
A crucial part of translation is ensuring it has perfect grammar and spelling, especially when it’s customer-facing content. Google Translate isn’t capable of proofreading translations or detecting if there are errors in the original text. You can’t edit any of the translations it suggests, either, which means you’ll have to stick to whatever Google Translate offers.
Though this is perfectly fine for low-traffic content like footers, this could easily lead to significant issues when you use the tool for important pages. Luckily, this is something its alternatives offer.
2. It may not be the best machine translation provider for your chosen language pairs
Google Translate is available in over 130 languages, so it offers the broadest spectrum of language support. But because it covers so many languages, it can’t provide the same level of quality for all 8,778 language pairs. For instance, DeepL provides higher quality translations in the following language pairs: English-German, English-French, and English-Spanish. Our own study comparing DeepL and Google Translate also found that DeepL produced the most number of translations that didn’t need a human to verify them for the seven language pairs we’d chosen. Similarly, Microsoft Translator did especially well in producing German translations.
That isn’t to say that Google Translate can’t pull its own weight. DeepL is great for common languages, but Google Translate supports many other languages that DeepL doesn’t, like Hebrew, Vietnamese and Thai. If you’ll be translating into these languages, Google Translate may be your best bet.
3. It doesn’t display the translated content on your website for you
You have to configure Google Translate to upload your translations each time. That means any time you translate new content or add something to your site, you’ll have to manually run it through the API to get it to translate for you. Then you’ll have to set it up so that it displays these translations each time. That’s a lot of time spent getting your translations live instead of working on other more productive tasks.
4. It doesn’t optimize translations for multilingual SEO
A crucial part of reaching your audience—especially in a brand-new market—is optimizing your content for search engine performance in their respective areas. However, because of the way the tool works, it doesn’t send signals to search engines to index the newly translated content. You’ll have to manually add attributes like hreflang tags, set up your translated websites under subdirectories or subdomains, and overall miss the many advantages of multilingual SEO.
5. It isn’t designed for business use
One of the reasons Google Translate is so accessible is that it’s designed to be used by everyone, no matter their skill level. Its interface is as simple as possible, so it won’t have some of the more advanced features an enterprise might need. Though it works great for personal use, it won’t have things like a glossary, Translation Editor, or a dashboard to consolidate and manage your translations.
6. It doesn’t retain the formatting of your text
When you’re translating texts outside personal use, you often need to preserve the formatting. That way, you don’t need to waste time adding line breaks, links, the proper headings, and font styles back into your web pages.
However, Google Translate doesn’t keep the formatting of your original text. This could take up valuable resources, which is why an alternative could be a better fit for you.
7. It doesn’t allow translation project collaboration
Google Translate’s interface is designed for individual users, blocking collaboration. Luckily, alternatives geared towards seamless website translation come with intuitive project collaboration features, so you can add team members to your project and manage the translations produced.
What can I use instead of Google Translate?
Google Translate is perfectly fine for certain use cases. For instance, if you want to translate text for personal use like menus, signs, and instructions, it delivers fast, fairly accurate translations. But for things that require a lot of context—like your marketing materials and website—the tool itself won’t suffice, since it’ll need a human eye to verify its output.
That said, Google Translate is excellent at providing translations for these functions:
- Technical texts
- Similarly, repetitive technical content that is mostly action-oriented to solve an issue
- Low-traffic or low-visibility content
- Footers, product descriptions, terms and conditions pages
- User-generated content such as testimonials
- Support messages through chat or email
- Fleeting/temporary content, such as customer inquiries
If you’re looking for a translation tool, the best one completely depends on your needs and what you’re looking for. We at Weglot find Google Translate very useful for providing a first layer of translation to your website in over 100 languages, which is why it’s one of the providers we use, along with DeepL and Microsoft Translator. But we don’t use it all by itself—we use a proprietary mix of machine translation technologies to provide a high-quality website translation.
That being said, if you’re curious about how Google Translate works when using it to translate your website…
Translating your website with a Google Translation integration
Google Cloud Translation’s AI works by letting you choose which content you want to be translated into your target language. For example, you can upload your company’s service manuals that are in English and translate them into Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, German, and so on.
Here, we discuss the process of using Google Translate widget on your website:
And if you’re using Google Cloud’s Translation AI to translate your website, the process looks like this:
- Configure your API key (written in JSON) and create a project.
- Upload your content. Your file needs to be a text/html or in text/plain (.tsv and .txt) format.
- Request your translations by picking the language you want to translate your content into. This is the part that costs money. When you sign up for Google Cloud’s Translation API, you get a $300 credit. However, that’s not enough for most websites. (Note: If you have a very small translation project, consider using the free version of Weglot.)
- Google then translates that content and delivers it back to your Google Cloud Storage.
But there are a few problems that make this the wrong method for translating your website:
- API connections are not always easy to set up or maintain. You have to set up and maintain an active API connection with Google. If anything goes wrong with this connection, you need to figure it out with your team or reach out to Google.
- You have to manually deal with all of your content. You need to extract the content from your site, upload it to the Cloud, then take your translations from the Cloud and upload them to your translated site. That’s a lot of back-and-forth, even with a small website. You have to do this each time you add new content or make changes to your existing ones. The same goes for each language version of your website.
- You’re only getting translation services from one provider. Yes, Google Translate is a major translation provider. But it’s not the only one. And nor is it always the best one for the job, depending on which languages you’re translating from and translating into. There are other providers, such as DeepL Translator and Microsoft Translate, which might be better for your project.
- You don’t get an easy-to-use translation management platform that lets you edit your translations. Depending on your project, you may need your translation team to do manual reviews of your translated content. This isn’t an option with your Google Translate integration.
So, while Google Translate is a powerful translation provider, it’s not necessarily the best tool if you want to make your website multilingual. That’s why in the next section, we cover an alternative: Weglot’s translation software.
Weglot: The best Google Translate alternative to integrate with your website
Weglot is our website translation software. It uses 3 different translation providers (including Google Translate), so you’ll always get the most accurate translations for your site.
But unlike using Google’s Cloud Translation AI, you don’t need to download or upload any files. Weglot works with any site and is easy to install. Plus, it automatically translates your content for you.
Weglot can translate any site in just a few minutes. When it’s done translating your site, it sets up your translated sites as unique subdomains/subdirectories and optimizes them for SEO (following Google’s own best practices for multilingual SEO).
So why choose Weglot? In summary:
- Weglot works with any website and connects without code—and you don’t need to maintain complex API setups yourself.
- Weglot scans, detects, then translates the content on your website and displays the newly translated version in a live preview of your site. You can see your updated website in real-time.
- Weglot will translate your entire site within minutes, and this includes setting up your translated sites under unique URLs. We use the same translation technology as Google Translate (along with 3 other leading translation providers).
- Weglot makes website localization as frictionless as possible by allowing project collaboration so your teammates and translators can work on translations.
- Plus, with Weglot, you can easily edit your translations (if needed) or order additional professional translation services directly through the dashboard, without having to extract or download any content from your website. However, if you prefer working outside the dashboard you can export and import your translations in CSV or XLIFF file format.
Weglot’s easy installation process (including video tutorials)
Weglot is a web-based application, which means it’s compatible with all operating systems like Mac and Windows and browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Here’s a quick video on how easy and user-friendly it is to install Weglot on your site—no coding or developers needed:
We have CMS-specific tutorials listed below.
WordPress: A video guide to translating your WordPress site with Weglot
WooCommerce: A video guide to translating your WooCommerce store with Weglot
Shopify: A video guide to translating your Shopify Store with Weglot
Wix: A video guide to translating your Wix site with Weglot
Squarespace: A video guide to translating your Squarespace website with Weglot
Webflow: A video guide to translating your Webflow website with Weglot
Weglot will translate your site automatically (and keep it updated)
At Weglot, top-quality user experience is our priority. That’s why we’ve built it to translate your site automatically. You don’t need to download, extract, or copy and paste your site’s content and upload it to a translation tool.
Once you connect Weglot to your site, pick your site’s current language and what language you want to translate your site into, whether Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Dutch, and more. Then Weglot takes over.
After your translation is ready, Weglot automatically displays it under a unique subdomain/subdirectory of your current site’s URL. For example, Weglot’s main site is weglot.com. But our French site is weglot.com/fr/, and the Italian one is weglot.com/it/. That subdomain was set up for us automatically without any effort.
Weglot uses 3 leading translation providers to accurately translate every project
Google Translate offers great translation services. And Weglot uses an API connection with Google to provide customers with fast and accurate translations.
But Weglot also uses other leading translation providers, specifically DeepL, and Microsoft. We have API connections with each provider, so you don’t need to set up your own. All of these providers are connected to your Weglot account. Which tool we use to translate your site depends on the language pairing you select—so we’ve already chosen the most accurate MT provider for you.
This way, you’re always using the best tool for the job.
FYI: We recently researched how accurate machine translation is. The majority of our customers don’t end up making any edits to their website after Weglot has translated it for them. That means you can just add our software, pick the languages you want, and let Weglot do the rest.
How to customize your translation process with Weglot’s translation management platform
Weglot gives you automatic website translation, but you also have control over the entire translation process within our software. This includes:
- Editing your translated content within the dashboard.
- Hiring professional translators through your Weglot account.
- Setting up glossaries with specific translation rules.
- Excluding specific words, phrases, pages, or blocks from translations.
Edit your translations as needed (and hire professional translators)
While ⅔ of our customers don’t edit their translations at all, that still leaves a third of our clients who do make edits. Whether you edit your translated content will depend on your website and industry. Previously, we’ve written about several different types of businesses that have used Weglot to show the various strategies you can take when creating a multilingual website.
So while editing is optional, we still know how important it is for some businesses—which is why Weglot is also a full-service translation management platform.
You can access all of your translated languages in your Weglot dashboard—whether they’re machine-powered translations or translations done by human translators.
You can find a specific translation by:
- Selecting a URL.
- Searching for a specific phrase or word you want to find.
- Navigating through a live preview of your site with our visual editor.
You can click the translation you want to edit, make the changes, and then save them. All changes are updated automatically on your CMS.
You can also find a professional translator through Weglot. Simply pick which content you want to be translated/reviewed by a professional, then the job is sent to a qualified translator.
Once the translator has finished translating, the content is automatically updated and live on your site. You don’t need to worry about going back and forth with different texts and docs and ensuring you have the most updated one on your site. Weglot takes care of it for you.
Setting up a glossary
From your Weglot Dashboard, you can click on “Glossary” to set up specific translation rules.
This lets you pick which words you never want translated by Weglot. For example, some sites won’t want to translate brand names and company mottos.
Excluding specific pages/blocks
You can also exclude entire URLs or specific blocks from getting translated.
If you want to exclude a URL, you just add a new rule and then put in the URL you want to exclude. If you want to exclude a specific block, then just copy the CSS selector of that block and add it to your “Excluded Blocks” list.
Weglot optimizes your website for SEO
Gaming the algorithms of search engines is a never-ending process. And when you start accounting for language translation in your SEO, it can seem nearly impossible. But when Weglot translates your CMS, it also helps with your new site’s multilingual SEO. This helps your site rank for the right audience regardless of the search engine.
Weglot helps with SEO by:
- Automatically translating all of your on-page SEO elements, such as your alt tags and metadata.
- Adding code to your translated site that tells Google you have a translated site available (hreflang tags).
- Creating a unique subdomain/subdirectory for each translated site. For example, our main site, weglot.com, is in English. But our Japanese site is under the subdomain https://weglot.com/ja/, where “ja” denotes Japanese.
Get started with Weglot: If Weglot sounds like the right website translation solution for you, click here to start your free trial.
Next Steps: translate your site within minutes with Weglot
While Google is a great machine translation service that provides accurate translations, it doesn’t give websites an easy way to translate their content. With Weglot, you get:
- An easy installation process. You don’t need to worry about any API connections. You can set up Weglot with any site in just a few minutes. No coding or development necessary.
- Automatic translation via machine translation. We use machine translation from the leading providers. This includes Google Translate—but it also includes DeepL, and Microsoft Translate. And because we have APIs set up with each provider, you don’t have to worry about managing any active connections or juggling different platforms. Plus, Weglot will automatically detect any new content and translate it for you. That means your translated sites will always be up-to-date.
- An intuitive translation management platform. Once your site is translated by machine translation with Weglot, you can edit your translations from your dashboard, if desired. Your translation team can do this, but if you don’t have a team, you can also hire a professional translation review directly through Weglot. It’s also equipped with a visual editor compatible with mobile devices, whether you’re on an Android or running iOS.