I suppose I should start with a big disclaimer: I don’t actually know any Japanese other than what you might pick up watching anime and whatnot, however, I have decided to properly learn at least enough Japanese to get by and translate these web novels accurately. And now that I’ve been studying and MTLing for several months now, the accuracy of the translations have definitely gone up in my opinion.
I started this out of the frustration of not being able to read my favorite novels, so I figured why not translate them myself. Of course, there are more cons than pros in relying on online translators; for example, I probably won’t get the correct meaning out of most sentences, not to mention puns and subtleties that rely on the reader’s(in this case, translator’s) knowledge of the language.
Moreover, online translators tend to randomly interpret the meaning of entire sentences(which, I found out is because japanese sentence structure is such a pain to work with given that it’s common to skip pronouns and articles), so getting the meaning wrong could end up affecting the chapter or the novel as a whole.
“Well, if it’s that fucking bad then why would I bother reading here, I could just google translate that shit and it’ll be the same, right?”
In response to that, the only pro I can possibly think of is that I at least try to squeeze something that makes sense in the context of the whole chapter/novel from whatever nonsensical shit online translators spit and edit it into proper english so you don’t have to. And now that I know more basic Japanese grammar, I can often fill in the blanks, so to speak, of that kind of stuff.
So, at the end of the day, choose to read at your own discretion. I’m 100% confident that it’s, at least, a more enjoyable experience than just putting the raw through google translate and trying to decipher the essential parts of the plot from it.
*As an aside, I found out that the most helpful websites for machine translating as accurate as humanly possible without actually being fluent in Japanese, but still having basic knowledge on its grammar, vocabulary, and so on are these two websites: https://jisho.org/ and https://ejje.weblio.jp/ , the latter shows you english translations of Japanese terms from different places on the internet, though I think both sites have access to the same databases, so neither are the definite solution or anything like that.
That’s it, peace.