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Google translate good or bad?

I have heard a lot of people say that google translate is bad and good but, when doing projects that I have to translate things I don't know if that is reliable. Please tell me your opinion.

February 4, 2016



Google translate is a wonderful tool if you are using it correctly and for the right task. When people run into problems with it, it's generally because Google translate is a hammer that they want to use as a screwdriver.

If you want to take a big chunk of text written in another language (preferably a European language) and you want to know what it says, run it through Google translate and you'll get a pretty good idea of what it says. A few of the sentences might be in somewhat off sounding English and some of them might be confusing or a bit off point so you can't be 100% sure what they were meant to say in the original language, but you should be able to get the basics of the text as a whole, which is pretty good for not speaking the language in question or having an actual translation/translator at hand.

You can also use it as a check for language production by writing sentences in the language you are learning and putting them into Google translate. If what comes out is a correct English sentence, what you wrote was probably right, because grammatical and spelling errors tend to break the translation software and you get gobble-dee ❤❤❤❤. This requires a bit more finesse than the first case, because there are some perfectly valid phrases and structures that Google translate just doesn't seem to like in any given language, so you sort of need to learn what those are in order to work around them, and you need to know how to tell when you are getting good feedback because wrote the sentence correctly and when you're getting something that looks like good English simply because you put direct translations of each word of the English sentence in the English word order so that the broken translation looks like good English by coincidence.

What you absolutely shouldn't use Google translate for is putting in English and just grabbing whatever comes out the other end and using it as if it is correct unless you absolutely have no other way of making yourself understood to someone and it's your only option for communicating, because you can pretty much guarantee that you won't be getting a consistently flawless version of the language, but rather a "pretty good approximation" of it. Understandable, but stil clearly something run through Google translate rather than produced by a person who understands the language.


Takes giant text response, translates it into Spanish on GT


It's OK for words, or short phrases. Generally pretty terrible for whole sentences. It translates overly literally and often in a totally clunky way that is at best awkward, and at worst incorrect,


It can be reliable at times, and in reality, they're constantly improving the translations with crowd-sourced feedback, but at the end of the day, it's still just a translator, so not everything you're going to want to say can be translated exactly as it is in a different language. What I like to do is use it as a basis, then check out the same translation on Spanishdict.com. I compare the words that are used there and decide for myself thereafter. Finally, if something still doesn't seem quite right, I'll take just that word or phrase and look it up specifically on Spanishdict. Usually after all that it will be just about right and I'll remember it like that, show a spanish friend, make sure everything's good. and boom, you're crystal clear.

Of course, this wouldn't work with other languages, seeing as you have myriad others, but for spanish, I don't think you could ever really go wrong with this method.

Hope this helps!


Thanks! I just don't get how these websites do all this translating and when I compare two together they end up being different! Sometimes these translators are not very helpful at all. I guess I'll just ask my Spanish friends for that! :)


It's good if you want to quickly understand the jist of things, but extremely inaccurate at times. I use Google Translate a lot on Duolingo when I want to understand what people are saying on their profiles in other languages. I also use it a lot for Spanish (my main language focus), but when I am translating articles I also often run phrases and sentence constructions through Linguee and Word Reference. Linguee will give you tons of example sentences where your word or phrase is used, and Word Reference is just amazing in so many ways, once you learn to navigate it properly.


One thing I love about wordreference.com is that they give all the alternate meanings of a word, including its use in idioms. It's a great resource.

Linguee is ok for a quick idea of how a phrase might be used "in real life" but I find it less useful.

[deactivated user]

    It's great for translating single words and certain phrases, but I find that it has problems using the correct conjugations sometimes. And you have to be careful with words that have more than one meaning. You say something is hard and by hard you mean difficult. But the translator might pick the word that means hard as in the opposite of soft! So you have to take things with a grain of salt. By all means, reverse translate also.


    good for one or two word translations


    I've used Google Translate for some French and German, but mainly Spanish. It has been helpful with words and phrases, but longer sentences are awkward, conjugations are often incorrect, and everything's translated literally. I stopped using it. If you're looking for Spanish translations, definitions, and examples, Spanish Dict is amazing.


    Google translate has improved significantly in the last couple years. Especially for Spanish and French.


    spanish is not an exception for most of the time - if you are talking about spanish (my main focus rn), spanishdict.com is very reliable. Google Translate translate literally -- "I can do it" can be translated into "puedo lo hacer" regularly, but google translate will think can means "lata de sopa", or can of soup

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