My French language skills are poor. I travel to France on occasion, and exchange infrequent email correspondence with friends, and in making travel and lodging arrangements. Google Translate has been essential, but I understand it is far from ideal. When in France, I do not practice French as much as I'd like. I think my friends feel it's much easier to converse with me in English (which they speak fluently) - and that makes perfect sense, but doesn't improve my French skills dramatically. Nevertheless, I do want to improve.
I use Google Translate out of necessity; it generally accomplishes the required communication, but I'm sure my Google-Translated email correspondence leaves my recipients shaking their heads :) And so my questions are these:
Is there a better alternative to Google for English-French translation?
Is there some general guidance available on how to cross-check the French translations from my English?
And finally, I wonder if I might improve the quality of my Google-Translated French by structuring my English-language input in a particular way? For example, don't use possessive pronouns, avoid adverbs, etc... general guidance in other words?