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, an eCommerce store, a blog, and so on. 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.
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 are solutions out there that are 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, so you’ll have to stick to whatever Google Translate offers.
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.
3. It Doesn’t Display the Translated Content on Your Website for You
Previously, you could add the Google Translate Widget to your site that would display the translated content for you (note: this is still possible, but only if you're using it for a non-commercial website). So you’ll need a developer to create a special workflow so that you can integrate the Google Translate API into your website.
Regardless, you’ll 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—taking up time you could spend on 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 Doesn’t Allow Translation Project Collaboration
Google Translate’s interface is designed for individual users, blocking collaboration. However, alternatives allow you to add team members to your project and manage your translations together.
When Can I Use Google Translate?
Google Translate is perfectly fine for certain use cases and it can deliver 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:
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
Finding the best translation tool 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 110 languages, which is why it’s one of the providers we use, along with DeepL and Microsoft Translator.
While Google Translate is a powerful translation provider, it’s not necessarily the best tool if you want to make your website multilingual.
Alternatives to Google Translate
With that in mind, let’s take a look at other alternatives to using Google Translate for your website:
DeepL is a leading provider of machine translation that is widely praised for its accuracy, particularly when compared to Google. It’s known to capture context and colloquialisms better, allowing you to leave the translations unedited.
For instance, DeepL provides higher-quality translations than Google Translate 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.
Plus, DeepL provides an API for automatic website translation, just like Google Translate. You can also use its web interface and applications to translate text files (.pdf, .docx, or even .pptx files) and textual content.
However, one thing that Google Translate notably has over DeepL is the wide language selection. DeepL currently supports 31 languages, offering 800 language pairs, which is still plenty for many website owners. Most of these languages are European languages, but DeepL also supports Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, Japanese, and Korean.
Lastly, the DeepL API offers 500,000 characters for free each month. The next tier, DeepL API Pro, costs €4.99 a month and has no volume restrictions, 1,000 glossaries, and a pay-as-you-go scheme where you pay €20 per 1,000,000 characters. Google offers almost the same thing: 500,000 characters for free per month, and charges $20 for a million characters. However, it charges $0.08 for each page of a document you send for translation.
Available through Microsoft’s Cognitive Service, Microsoft Translate is found throughout many familiar products: Bing, Office, Microsoft Edge, Cortana, Skype, and many more. You can use it for your website or even applications; which means the conversations in your user groups, forums, customer support, and even live communication can all be translated.
Microsoft Translator supports nearly the same number of languages as Google at 129, making it a strong contender. It also performed well in our study with Nimdzi on the state of machine translation for websites, where it scored a 3 out of 4 in ranking its overall usability and rating for all seven languages. It was also the only translation provider to score consistently across all tested languages.
Additionally, it scored the highest in producing translations that didn’t need editing for German.
It comes with a free API trial to see what it’s like on your website. Other than that, its free plan allows you to translate 2 million characters per month, whereas Google Translate allows you to translate only 500,000 a month. If you need more than 2 million characters, Microsoft Translator still comes out as more affordable: it charges $10 for 1 million characters, and Google charges $20.
Amazon Translate is the ecommerce giant’s machine translation service, which belongs to its cloud-based suite of offerings, Amazon Web Services. What sets this apart from the other alternatives is that it is accessible only from the AWS Management Console or an API, so you can’t quite use it on-the-go to translate like you can with Google, DeepL, and Microsoft.
You can use Amazon Translate to translate your website, documents, create custom terminology, cover up profanity, configure formalities in language, and many more. It also supports 75 languages and over 5,500 translation combinations.
Moreover, it provides real-time translation in email, helpdesk, chat, and ticketing applications so that agents can communicate in the languages of their customers.
If you’re signed up to the AWS Free Tier, then you have access to Amazon Translate for free. It’s also available to you for 12 months, starting the day you make your first translation request. You’ll also get 2 million characters for each month for standard text and batch document translation.
However, if you’re not signed up to this tier, you’ll have to pay $15 for 1 million characters for standard text, batch document, and real-time document translation (text and HTML), the last of which is not available to free tier users. You’ll then have to pay $30 for 1 million characters for real-time documentation for .docx files, and $60 for 1 million characters for active custom translation.
So while Amazon Translate is definitely more affordable in the first year compared to Google’s $20 for 500,000 characters, you’ll have to make some considerations to support your translation needs for the second year and beyond.
Reverso is a machine translation software that provides AI-powered translation in over 15 languages and document translation in over 25. It’s available through their website, but they also have apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and even browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
It comes with an integrated grammar checker, so it automatically corrects errors in your original text with an AI-based spell checker, giving you higher-quality translations. Its integrated dictionary allows you to modify your translations and fine-tune them for even better quality, suggesting synonyms and offering in-context translation examples.
While Reverso is free to use, some restrictions apply, such as word and character count. You can skirt this through Reverso Premium. Their annual plan costs €6.49 a month or €38.94 billed one time, and their monthly plan costs €9.99. Regardless of the plan you pick, you’ll have unlimited text translation of up to 8,000 characters at once, translate up to 50,000 words per year in documents, and benefit from translating scanned documents as well.
If your needs are much higher than that, you might benefit from their corporate translator, though you’ll have to contact their sales team for pricing.
Now, if you’re looking for a Google Translate alternative specifically to translate your website, consider Weglot. It uses 3 different translation providers (including Google Translate) and supports over 110 languages, 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 manage its API integration to use it. 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 best practices for multilingual SEO).
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:
Weglot also has integrations with your favorite CMS, whether WordPress, WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, you name it.
Weglot Will Translate Your Site Automatically (And Keep It Updated)
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.
Edit Your Translations as Needed (And Hire Professional Translators)
Weglot is designed to do the bulk of the work for your translation needs. At some point, you may end up needing to edit your translated content, depending on your website and industry.
To make things easier, 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, and 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.
Plus, you can set up glossaries with specific translation rules, such as excluding specific words, phrases, pages, or blocks from translations.
Weglot Optimizes Your Website for SEO
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.
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.
DeepL is the best for accuracy with European languages, though it doesn’t support as many languages as Google does. It’s also a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it if you have a lot of colloquialisms in your content.
Microsoft Translator is the most affordable while offering the most number of supported languages, second to Google Translate.
Amazon Translate offers several useful features, but many are free only for the first year. Still, depending on what you need, it’s more affordable than Google Translate.
Reverso is great for fine-tuning your translations since it suggests synonyms and makes corrections, allowing you to learn along the way.
But with Weglot, you get:
An easy installation process. No 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 Google Translate, 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.
An intuitive translation management platform. Weglot has a suite of intuitive translation management features like a Glossary, Visual Editor, and the option to hire professional translations. You can even use your mobile devices to manage your translations, whether you’re on an Android or running iOS.
Pricing at all tiers. Get started with the free version of Weglot. If you have an extensive website, we have plans ranging from starter to enterprise to better fit your needs.