Once upon a time we all thought it would be impossible for humans to fly, or to talk with someone miles away, or to travel to the moon. All this has changed thanks to technology.
We also thought machines wouldn’t be able to translate text usefully, and it’s now long ago that we used to see those funny examples of literal translation, such as “Made in Turkey” translated as “Hecho en Pavo”.
Nowadays, there are still plenty of funny examples; however, most of the automatic translation engines have evolved, and the results have improved a lot.
In cases such as documentation, with short sentences consisting of unambiguous instructions, automatic translation can be useful, as long as the translation is edited afterwards. It can certainly help to save time and money.
However, there are cases in which automatic translation doesn’t yet make sense. Marketing texts with double meanings, texts that show some kind of feelings or sarcasm, where it is difficult to grasp the real intention of the writer, are still a challenge for automatic translation. In these cases, the editor would probably have to spend too much time trying to figure out the meaning of the translation, going back to the original text and changing the final result.
Technology should keep on helping us to get coherent and good translations; however, to make sure the final result is correct, a final check from a human translator will always be needed.