Google now offers a free translation service as part of its search engine. I'll give you an example of an English to Finnish translation. This is the original English text:
The author, N. Taiwo, employs a very unique approach that uncovers the root causes (underlying factors) that produce or erode respect between people. The result is a powerful revelation that offers a profound look into human behavior and thought processes that will reshape the reader's thinking.
The concept of Respect is presented in a whole new light and perspective, and a strong case is made about the role Respect plays in shaping and fostering success in life. Parents, couples, young adults and professionals stand to benefit greatly from this innovative and intriguing self-empowerment book on respect.
The Finnish translation comes next. Perfectly correct Finnish is in black, slightly incorrect but intelligible is in green, badly incorrect but more or less intelligible is in blue, and unintelligible "Finnish" is in red.
Kirjailija, N. Taiwo, työllistää hyvin ainutlaatuinen lähestymistapa, joka paljastaa, että juuri syitä (taustalla olevat tekijät), jotka tuottavat tai heikentäisi kunnioitusta ihmisten välillä. Tuloksena on tehokas paljastuksen, joka tarjoaa syvän tutkia ihmisten käyttäytymistä ja ajattelin prosesseja, jotka muuttavat lukijalle: n ajattelua.
Käsite Kunnioitus on esitetty kokonaisuudessaan uudessa valossa ja näkökulma, ja vahva tapaus on tehty noin roolin kunnioittaminen soittaa muotoiluun ja edistää menestystä elämässä. Vanhemmat, pariskunnat, nuoret aikuiset ja ammattilaiset stand hyödyttää suuresti tätä innovatiivista ja nauttimisen omanarvontunnon kirjan osalta.

Many of the mistakes are errors in inflections. I cannot think of a reason for some errors, such as lukijalle: n ajattelua. I have no idea what has made the programme resort to a colon followed by an n! The programme hasn't even tried to translate stand in the last sentence. My initial intention was to try to "translate" the Finnish version back into equally poor English but I decided to relinquish the idea due to the completely different natures of the two languages. It is an impossible task as there are so few inflections in English. Even a very bad English version I would produce would inevitably be far better than the Finnish the machine offers. Despite some correct words, the Finnish is unintelligible and the reader will have no conception of what the writer is trying to get across.
I trust that programmes like this will improve with time, though. No doubt people at Google are aware of the standard of the "translations" but think that the poor quality doesn't matter. They may be right. No one can take a translator like this seriously now. Anyone can send in their suggested improvements if they want to. These improvements don't cost Google a penny and yet their product becomes better. Enough small imrovements over a long period of time may mean translations that are intelligible even though they are a far cry from perfect.
Cheers, CB
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Haven't heard of this technique for automatic translators of CJ's, but I find that the SDL online translator (freetranslation.com) does a lot better; though the simultaneous use of a dictionary and the back-to-English translation are a must to iron out case, grammar, and vocabulary issues. Definitely better than Google Translate, and it handles the Romance and Germanic (German, Dutch, Swedish, etc) fairly well as far as I could tell. Can't give any opinions on the less Latin-like languages, however.