Anne Merritt at The Telegraph asks the question, How reliable is translation software?
Merritt describes translation software from Google and Microsoft, noting that they both “use a type of computational linguistics called Statistical Machine Translation. This method uses vast databases of human-translated documents…to track patterns in the translations and draw parallels between traits of the languages. Rather than a word-by-word dictionary translation, this technology looks at word combinations and common patterns, so it can estimate the conjugations and structure of a text. In theory the more translation data it obtains, the more refined its pattern-tracking can become, so the translation software is constantly improving.