When you have to write in a language that you're not familiar with or understand something that's been written to you in a foreign language, things can get pretty complicated. Having someone to translate for you is great, but you will depend on this person and you will have to pay him. When you're in a hurry and there's no human help at hand, web-based translation services are always a suitable solution. Here are our picks for the top 5 online translators.
Almost everybody has used Google Translate and there's a reason for that. This service is free, offers support for over 100 languages and has auto-detection capabilities, which is really helpful when you have no idea what language a text was written in. Like any online translator, Google's service has a big downside: the longer your text is, the less accurate the translation is, but the IT giant has recently enhanced Translate with machine learning capabilities, which can make a real difference.
Bing Translator is an online translation service that's very similar to Google's one, offering auto-detection capabilities, OCR translations and numerous supported languages. Furthermore, this tool will also help you translate uploaded documents and websites. For me, the best thing about Bing Translator is its voice translation capability: it's really helpful to hear a native speaker pronounce a sentence that you want to repeat.
Word Lingo is a reliable translation tool, offering an accuracy of around 65% in long translations, but it supports just 15 languages, which is a lot less than what the previous two services are offering. If you navigate the Lingo's website, you will find some additional tools such as a website translator, an email translator a translation API and a paid version of the text translator.
SDL FreeTranalsation is the favorite go-to place for professional translators and the free service that it offers is actually really good. This translation tool supports 44 languages and can also provide a spoken version of the translated text. Even though SDL FreeTranslation doesn't have as many extra features as the rest of these services, what's cool about is that you can get professional human help for a text that is really important.
None of the services that offer automatic translations are 100% accurate, so if you want professional-like results, you will need to pay for them. To that end, I recommend trying Gengo, a service that uses human translators. It is very fast (usually, the work lasts less than two hours after you place the order), offers formal and informal translations and has a fair per-word payment system.
Now, when you've seen our picks for the top 5 online translators, you may also be interested in reading some of our articles such as: "Grammar checkers for grammar lovers", "Best Online Dictionaries to Include in Your Arsenal" or "Minimalist Writing Instruments for Digital Age".