When you only need to understand the general meaning of a written letter or email, they can be sufficient, but if you need an accurate detailed comprehension you could be in trouble.
The main reason that an online translator tool cannot provide precise information is verb tenses. For instance, when translating French language correspondence, the conjugation of verbs will not always be correct and may result in a completely different meaning for the reader.
Also the online tools have problems with sentence structure. The translator will take the information in foreign languages “word by word” and try to make sense of it. The result can be something completely different from the original languages.
Slang words and local use of certain expressions will also cause headaches when using an online translator for foreign languages. They will take the literal meaning or a phrase which may be very confusing for the person receiving it.
If you are using an online translator for translating French language to English and you do not know the French language, you may not even realize that the message you are sending to a native French-speaking person does not make any sense at all. In fact the results of some translations are just bizarre. You may think you are ordering a box of pencils but you are actually buying a horse! You are going to be very confused when you receive that delivery!
This example shows why accuracy is so important and you should not rely on an online translator when specific details are important. This situation will get even worse if you and another person are corresponding and you are both using online translators. Before long the meanings will be lost for both of you. Imagine how important accuracy is if you are making detailed travel reservations and the person receiving your request doesn’t understand clearly. It could mean disaster for your plans.
While there is no substitute for learning foreign languages, an online translator is fine if you just need a broad understanding of what you are reading but use caution if you rely on them for precise and exact information.