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I have tried out all the main online free automatic translation services and while they all have good moments, occasionally producing an excellent translation for a sentence, none produces an acceptable finished version of a longer text. They can, however, be very useful in sketching out a first draft. Seen in that context, I found that the Google translator consistently produced the best versions. I regard it as a helpful translator's tool.

I am both amused and irritated by people who blithely put buttons on their blogs and other Web sites for them to be translated into other languages. They obviously do not realize that offering their sites in these awful versions does their reputation more harm than good.


A good way to show what incorrect English really is to those who think they know.

Peter Harvey

No doubt mechanical translation will continue to improve but it has a long way to go yet. It can be useful in translating newspaper articles where all you want is the gist, or for simple correspondence. It is annoying and depressing, however, that a company like Nestlé, which wouldn't skimp on the graphic layout of its web site for example, and which explicitly markets itself in terms of quality and sophistication, can come up with this garbage instead of paying for a proper translation.

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