This would be a very short blog post if we just answered the question No! but on the whole, that is still the answer. However tempting the idea of “free” translation is, it should be treated with extreme caution, if your website is a commercial website.
Automatic translation systems are improving all the time, but as things stand, they are still well short of the idiom and accuracy required for a professional website translation. There are too many complexities in both the source language and target language that can only be understood by a human translator, fluent in both languages and translating into their native language.
As anyone who has ever read an instruction manual translated from the original Chinese will know, missing words, wrong vocabulary, word order and tone of the translation (over-friendly, too dictatorial) are just some areas where a translation can become difficult to follow, laughable, utterly incomprehensible or even dangerous! Would you want your website to confuse, amuse or worse offend your target audience overseas?
Investing in a professional translation of your website shows that you are committed to the countries you are targeting. That you are genuinely committed to communicating with them and understanding their needs. If you opt for free translations, don’t be surprised that this has a negative impact on your message and on your prospects in that market place. For most businesses the cost of an accurate translation is more than justified by the returns. Don’t risk taking half measures – see la Academia’s own translation of its website into Spanish and have a chat with Andrea or Ruben about how we can provide a professional translation of your website into German, French, Spanish, Italian and many other languages.