The New York Times has a very interesting article where they explain how one of the most popular machine translation works in a literary context.
When you are using machine translation you literally put yourself in a machines hands and you will never be really sure or have any guarantee that the translation is correct. If you are not a native speaker of the target language or if you are not savvy of the context or nuances of the context of the original text you basically have to put all your trust on whatever translation is given.
So things like this can happen.
The above is evidently a contextual error where even if the translation of the word “crashed” for “estrelló” is correct, in the technical context we are currently in, it is inadequate. And you can now imagine if something as simple as a computer crash is difficult to translate what can we expect for things a little more complex.
So when is the use machine translation recommended?
Even if it is not recommended as an efficient or exact method of translations that does not mean that machine translation should not be used or should be completely discarded. Sometimes it can be a useful tool giving anyone doing a translation that is short and simple relatively good results.
When translating extensive texts sure this can be a time saver to a professional that is in a hurry, but it is quite possible that the time you saved with the machine translation will probably be lost with correcting and fixing linguistic and contextual errors.
What we recommend to our customers is that you can use a machine translation for double checking a translation that has been done by a professional and for professional translators out there working translating a source document it can be a quick and practical tool for when words just escape you or the vocabulary is complex and you just need a little help.
With what tools have you done machine translation? How has machine translation helped you?