For the last few weeks there has been a debate in the Catalan Wikipedia regarding the use of this translator. Right now, there is a bug in the generation of references (or templates) which nullifies the only "working feature" that remained about the tool. All the "cite web" references become the string "error in title or URL". Nothing remains of the original template. You can see an example in w:ca:Usuari:Oriololmo/Crisi_del_PSOE_de_2016.
Something we are seeing lately is the translation of internal links, where the link is correctly sent to an existent page, but the shown text remains in the original language. Sometimes, even the link is to the original wikipedia.
The quality of the language generated is certainly awful. It's hard to convey that in another language, but I will give you some examples:
- "ARE mRNA" becomes "PLOUGH mRNA"
- "Your NO counts" becomes "Your NO explains"
- "This article is a stub [the term for short articles]" becomes "This article is a stub [like in the cigarettes]"
- "The New York Times" becomes "The New York You swindle"
- "The Time magazine" becomes "The he swindles magazine"
- "Van Morrison" becomes "Van [as in the car type] Morrison"
- "More Dirty Debutantes" becomes "Live in Dirty Debutantes"
- "Who You Really Are" becomes "Who You Really let him Plough"
The English-Catalan translator is just painfully wrong, and many people don't bother to correct the errors. Catalan is quite similar to Spanish, so many people just stick to translating from this language. But the thing is, most of the examples above are from Spanish-Catalan translations, which people just don't double-check due to the mentioned similarities.
Sure, it is just a tool, and people are supposed to proofread the translations, but when this kind of nonsense is in many translations, you begin to wonder its purpose. Make no mistake, I wish we had an automatic translator which worked 100% of the time, and I get it, this is a tool which is being developed, but this kind of stuff just can't make it into Wikipedia in this current state. And again, some users *do* bother to correct those, mainly experienced ones. But we've also had way too many 'one-hit wonders' just come in, click on the paragraphs, publish the translation and leave Wikipedia. Heck, we've even had non-Catalan speakers translate into Catalan!
So, there has been an effort to move this kind of translations to the user namespace. But if we have to devote time to do this, it's time we're wasting on doing other stuff.
A user has come up with a proposal to temporarily disable the translator while the references/template bug is not fixed, and when it is solved, limit the usage of this translator to certain users. That could either be Autopatrolled users or a list of users who have proved they can properly use this tool in a similar fashion to that of Auto Wiki Browser.