As with all things, it depends. In all cases, it is important not to crash.

Google translate, which you have probably already used, is an example of statistical machine translation, launched in 2007 by Google. To train its engine, Google uses the vast amount of Internet data it indexes. Google Translate recognises language patterns through sheer quantity. And its results improve with the amount of language data published on the Internet. It supports many languages, but not all language combinations yield the same results. This means that no appraisal of quality of the target text can be based on the results obtained for a different language pair, and that linguists are still needed to assess the results and adapt the texts prior to publication.

In November 2016 Google has released its neural net machine, Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) for eight language pairs, a system which uses an artificial neural network to increase fluency and accuracy in Google Translate. This system, which requires heavy-duty computing power, greatly improves results especially for languages with lots of available training data, but again not all languages are equal.This model uses two networks: an encoder converts each word of an input sentence  into a multidimensional vector, taking into account what has happened earlier in the sentence; a decoder generates a word-for-word translation, taking account of the immediately preceding word. The result? a better text, but still not perfect

Customised translation engines using a mixed statistical and neuronal approach, tailored to your specific domain are a further option, and if well trained they can yield good results, especially for product descriptions or technical texts.

So back to your question: shall I use Google Translate?

Considering that there are 7.5 billion people in the world, 80% of whom do not speak English, translating your Web site makes perfect sense. And considering the ever growing amounts of content that even small companies need to translate, machine translation could be a smart option. But only if you submit all machine pre-translated text to a thorough post-editing process done by linguists specifically trained in your particular domain. You spent a great effort for the development of your site and brand. A bad translated Web site could destroy all that: your brand could be in tatters, users might loose confidence in your products or services from the very beginning, and you might loose out on good commercial opportunities.

Simple phrases like “The city councilmen refused the demonstrators a permit because they feared violence. Who feared violence?” or “The pen is in the box. The box is in the pen”  still produce wrong translations.

So far, human intervention is still needed for a good translation. As much as 4 wheels are essential for the smooth operation of a 4x4.