Google Shares Current View on Using AI for Website Translation

Google’s Stance On AI Translations & Content Drafting Tools

In the latest edition of Google’s SEO Office Hours video series, a company representative gave an update on the search giant’s take on AI-generated translations for multilingual websites.

The series, led by Google’s Search Relations Team Lead, John Mueller, answers questions from users about website crawling, indexing, and internationalization.

One user asked, “how can one be transparent in the use of AI translations without being punished for AI-heavy content?” Google’s Mueller responded that while there is “no special markup” to label webpages as automatic translations, users should “consider whether translated pages align with the quality bar that you set for yourself.”

Mueller suggested that if the translated content isn’t high quality, users would be better off not indexing the pages for search engines. “Ultimately, a good localization is much more than just a translation of words and sentences, so I would definitely encourage you to go beyond the minimal bar if you want users in other regions to cherish your site”, he concluded.

Similarly, another user asked if a machine-translated website affects a website’s ranking. “If the auto-translation is of low quality, maybe. You should ensure that a human native in those languages reviews (and perhaps fixes) the translations to ensure that the content is actually helpful for users”, Mueller responded.

The advice follows Google’s admission in 2018 that neural machine translation can fool its search algorithm, although it is unclear whether this is still the case today, with Google categorizing AI-generated content as ‘spam’ since 2022.

On AI-generated content, another user asked if content creators are penalized for using AI to “generate ideas”, even if humans edit the content and follow SEO guidelines.

Mueller responded, “what matters for us is the overall quality. If you’re using tools to get started, to help with spelling and formulations, that’s not a problem on its own — but it’s also not a sign that what you’ve created will automatically be considered high-quality content.”

Mueller recommended webmasters follow Google’s guidance about AI-generated content and check out questions on its helpful content page

“I realize it’s more work, but I find getting input from independent third-party folks on these kinds of questions extremely insightful”, he concluded.