Google’s claims it’s new translation tool can “make the language barrier go away.”
Language barriers are more than vocabulary and grammar. I expect that translation software will continue to have problems as long as it focuses on the language and not the message. Communication is deeply tied to cultural identity, and the two cannot be separated.
What you say, the words and grammar are what most translation software focus on. However, communication is primarily about how you say it– or pragmatics. Pragmatics includes how you influence others, how you express your opinions, desires or emotions. Translation is about the best way to get your message across, which cannot be accomplished outside of a cultural framework. For now, a human translator, who understands the cultural nuances of getting your message across to the right audience, remains your best bet.