Online translators can be lifesavers when you need something incomprehensible translated into your native language, but they have severe limitations and therefore extremely limited applications.
There are numerous problems with online translators, but the most important is quite simply that they cannot understand context, so for any word that has more that one possible translation – which is the majority of words – the translator cannot know which meaning is required. Most machine translators just give the most common translation of each word, though they might provide the user with other possibilities so that it’s up to the user to make the final call.
Learn more in our detailed comparison of the top online French translators.
Share your mistranslation adventures
What’s the best mistranslation you’ve ever seen? My personal favorite was at an Italian restaurant which offered a dish of “striped sailor.” I didn’t get to see the original Italian menu, but I assume it was something with marinara sauce. 🙂