The best free online translation tools we gather here can come in handy when you need a gist translation of a written piece. It makes no sense to turn to professional translation services if all you need is the substance or general meaning of a text or speech. Trouble might follow if there is a lack of understanding or unrealistic expectations of translation tools, but provided that you use simple language and give the translation tool a clear context, it can really help you sort out your basic language needs. These tools represent significant progress in translation technology.
An overview of the best free online translation tools
What are the ideal situations for using free online translation tools?Free online translation tools can be a recipe for disaster if your content is important to you. They should never be used as an alternative to professional translation services if your goal is to translate your website or market products of any kind. These tools perform simple substitution of words from one language to another, but they hardly ever handle difficult language and nuanced meanings as skillfully as a human translator. That is why it is important to know what online translation tools can and cannot do, as misuse can lead to misunderstandings and inefficient communication. Most native speakers will be able to tell if you used machine translation, which does not particularly portray a positive image of you or your brand. Some of the situations where using free online translation tools is acceptable are:
- When they are used to get the general idea without particular attention to details
- When they are used to get by in a foreign country (understanding street signs, asking for directions, searching for restaurant menu vocabulary, etc.)
- When they are used for a language pair that you are familiar with
- When they are used because of a tight budget and quality can be compromised
- When they are used because immediate translations are required