Recently, several emails have been exchanged between a historian in Rommerskirchen, Germany, and myself. My correspondent across the ocean is not entirely comfortable communicating in English, so he composes his emails messages in his native German language.
However, I speak and read zero, zip, nada (as in absolutely none) no German. But Google has come to the rescue with their translation tools. I merely paste the contents of his email into the webpage at http://translate.google.com, specify the “from” and “to” languages and click “translate.” (Google Translate currently works with 63 languages, more than enough for my needs.)
Even though the result is a machine translation, I’m able to understand what he has sent. This is not a formal document and a native speaker of the language might cringe at the translated phrases, but someone the intent has been clear. We’ve been able to ask and answer each other questions to accomplish our task. (I’m not sure what method my German correspondent uses to translate my messages.)
And less than a perfect translation is no barrier as we pursue (successfully!) our genealogy research.
Google– it’s not just for searching anymore!