The European Association for Machine Translation defines the term "machine translation" as follows: "Machine translation (MT) is the application of computers to the task of translating texts from one natural language to another." In our multicultural society people have always dreamt of the ability to understand and know a lot of languages without effort. As time drew on, computing science provided a chance for such a communication in the mid-20th century.This essay introduces the topic with a synopsis on the history and development of machine translation. Next an explanation of the way machines deal with texts follows. The operating principle steps are successively described and demonstrated by a simple example translation. Furthermore the text gives a general overview of important translation systems, how the different systems try to achieve proper translations and how they have developed. Knowing the basic ideas, the barriers and difficulties, translation system are confronted with, are pointed out. After a description of disadvantages a consideration follows which brings human and machine face to face to lead to a solution according to business decisions. The last paragraphs give an outlook to the future and sum up some expectations in computational linguistics and prospects of machine translation.