A couple of tools I've moved to my browser toolbar and use quite regularly are:
• TriTrans Translator which simultaneously translates between English, Spanish, and Norwegian, single words only with suggestions for "close" words.
• Verbix, a verb conjugator (also many languages) which helps me significantly with irregular verbs and different verb tenses, and
• InterTrans, a very handy translator which works with an entire block of text (like an email), also in many languages.
• Also there's this site which links to the InterTrans webpage translator. It's nice to use with webpages when trying to hunt down local information.
It's a bit tricky to use translators, though, it's a bit of an art really. They often translate foreign text into mysterious and amusing riddles. For example, here's an email message I received today and ran through a translator:
"We bulldoze and washing as mere fact that! We stake at class 17, but am not becoming earnest crestfallen about facts becomes a bit seinere. Courses at Frøya am enormous band. Newspaper draw up that 8 cars went at autobahn only yesterday at Hitra (autobahn at Frøya.) We defer at spring, and saw grasping we a good deal weekend there at one time."
Did you follow that? For fun, I tried translating a poem from English to Norwegian and back again. Do you recognize this?
Blink, blink, a little asterisk
How I wonder what you're
Up above the world saw hay
Equal a diamond at blue
Blink blink a little asterisk
How I wonder what you're
Not too bad, hey? Okay, one more. Here's the preamble to the United States Constitution, both the original and then put through the translator and back again.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We people at facts The United States, for that blank form a more perfect Association, beat out Justice, assure domestic At ease, provide for facts be prevalent advocacy, assist facts general Welfare, and competent facts Blessing at Liberalism to ourselves and our Backside, do ordain and beat out this Constitution for USA.
Yes, we can all use blessings on our backside, especially when beating out this Constitution for USA.
That was so much fun I tried a couple of other languages.
The Welsh insure heartburn. Be sure that "He Drives":
We group People with the United States, for I form more perfect Union, I strengthen Justice, I insure heartburn I come Tranquility, I prepare because group common defend, I facilitate group general Welfare, I go I make safe group We Blessed with Freedom to ourselves I go heartburn Race, do I order I go I strengthen this Composition because the United States with America, He Drives.
The Japanese "steady the base umpire swamp of freedom attached to ourselves":
We the people of the united nations, good form atto- yet perfect league, establish fairness , certain peace, proverb for the common explanation , promote the general welfare , again steady the base umpire swamp of freedom attached to ourselves again We the future do ordain again establish pulse the body for the United States of America.
The Spanish are looking for the "dark-haired perfect Union":
We the People of the United Statesman , in order to organize libel dark-haired perfect Union , settle Justness , insure domesticated Tranquilize , provide by the ordinary surmount , promote the across-the-board Well-being , and secure the Boon of Liberty until ourselves and our Posterity , do sort and settle this Constitution by the United Statesman of America.
And the French aren't worried about a Perfect Union. A "That's all right Union" would be sufficient, provided they have enough elbow room:
Ourselves the People about the estate - unison , in order to formal a more That's all right Union , ascertain Equity , insured , domestic Calmness , provide for the day common advocation , forward the broad All right - be , and certain the Benedictions about Elbow-room at ourselves - even and our Posterity , do decree and ascertain thanksggiving Constitution for the day Etats - Unison about America.