Tomás wrote:I get great writing feedback from Google Translate. I write in Spanish, then I hit the switch button twice to back-translate to see what google does. I pay attention to all the hints that google gives me. In Spanish, at least, Google Translate is excellent. It knows many idioms and collocations. Plus the feedback is immediate.
The key thing is to keep hitting that switch button and doing back-translations, maybe occasionally making small improvements to see what happens each time. I have learned so much from this.
I do a variant of this often as well for ES. In addition, I also run what I write through a free online Spanish grammar checker. As it turns out, at my workplace, back-translating is 100% critical in the sense that I know my coworkers who will read my Spanish message won't know Spanish (and it will have to translate appropriately back to English). In addition, they may write me back in French or Italian for example (again they are using google translate, but it needs to cross-reference to avoid ambiguity). When I have more time at home, I tend to read over what I write here in my journal after both google translate and an outside grammar tool has seen it, then I make big picture corrections to the best of my [A2 beginner] abilities. Often that involves simplifying what I would really like to say and opting for a conservative, smaller piece.
Having a form of human correction would circumvent much of the need for the many hikes I make to wordreference and linguee (though I love both wordreference and reverse context sites for all that I learn from them day to day). A Lang-8 link would indeed be a very cool web front-end tool. I share concerns about userbase size as I have seen many a good ideas flop by not taking into account that factor.