Should I use machine translation?

Sometimes people feel the cost of using a human translator is too great. They decide to use a machine translation program instead. There are a variety of such programs available, including some that offer their services online. But the best that can be said for them is that they are not very good. I used one of the well-known online machine translation programs to perform a test.

I wanted a sample of English text that was relatively easy to understand, so I chose this passage from a book for foreign students to study English:

Original English: The Golden Gate Bridge is a beautiful bridge. It is a suspension bridge in San Francisco. The bridge opened in 1937.

I then ran the text through the translator three times - once for Simplified Chinese, once for Japanese, once for Korean. I took the results for each language and ran them back through the same translator to translate back to English. These are the results:

Simplified Chinese: The golden yellow gate bridge is one beautiful bridge. This is one aerosol bridge in San Francisco. In 1937 the bridge opened.

Japanese: The gold gate bridge is the beautiful bridge. That is the San Francisco suspensoid bridge. You opened the bridge in 1937.

Korean: The gold the bridge which it bites is the beautiful bridge. It is the present misfortune bridge inside the SAN Francisco. The bridge opened at 1937 years.

Probably not the type of results you could live with if you're serious about selling a product or service in a foreign country.

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