The purchase of an MT system is in many cases a costly affair and requires careful consideration. It is important to understand the organizational consequences and to be aware of the system's capacities. Unfortunately, it is not possible to draw up a comparison table for MT systems on the basis of which MT buyers could choose their system. Although system specifications can provide us with some useful information there are too many aspects which influence the performance of MT that cannot be included in such a table. Furthermore, MT will perform differently in different translation environments, depending mainly on the character of the typical input texts. Without having the necessary information of the kind of input texts the user has in mind, it is not possible to make a reliable prediction about the cost effectiveness of an MT system. The consequences are that if we want information about an MT system we have to evaluate it, and that this evaluation has to be specifically for the user's translational needs.
The evaluation strategies discussed in this chapter are strategies that a buyer might want to pursue when considering the purchase of an MT system. Although they will provide the client with a certain amount of useful information, each method has some drawbacks, which we have tried to point out in our discussion.