Music:late-night PC whirr and typing interrupted by cat knocking over comics
One the one hand, machine translation gives you something that varies from my writing on a bad day to funky to poetic. On the other hand it gives you the gist of pages in a language I couldn't hope to read. I find they make most sense if you skim them rather than reading them properly; let the sense emerge from a brief glance rather than close analysis - I think this says something for the interpolation skills of the brain! Assuming the sentence structure is close to what's translated, it gives a flavour of the style too - the polite circumlocution and stylised presentation, like bowing and handing over a business card which I was on the receiving end of today, for the first time.
On the gripping hand Babelfish and the rest are nifty and nicely designed tools that don't get in the way (I wonder if that's my personal definition of a good candidate for a Web service?).
In the spirit of sharing I offer this and this - pages from a Japanese Web site on Tablet PC. If doubt the point and the like it is to in addition to, question and the like we would like you to move aside to the bulletin board by all means.