There is no harm in using free translation tools if you need to know the rough meaning of some foreign text. And these tools are getting better as time goes by. But beware!
Serious mistakes can be made when you put too much trust in a machine.
Lost in Translation
Here are some of the other ‘clangers’ we’ve seen, where people have relied solely on machine translations.
“At some kilometres of the town, you will be able to exercise different activities as the hike, the gleaning of mushrooms or the ski of bottom in winter.”
What they meant to say: “A few kilometres from the town, you will be able to enjoy various activities such as hiking, mushroom picking and cross-country skiing in winter.”
“Juliet’s writhing desk is out of work.”
What they meant to say: “Juliet’s writing desk if out of order.”
“In the 17th century, local tourists were ravaged by lorry drivers.”
What they meant to say: “In the 17th century, local travellers were troubled by highwaymen.”
If you’re communicating with customers, you need to have your copy checked by a human translator, working in their own native language!