I was recently asked about translation services for genealogy documents. We have all been there - faced with something written in a language we don't understand and no way to figure out what it is.
In another great example of "ask and you shall receive" - The Week just published an article on how to identify a foreign language by just looking at a letter or two.
Once you know what you are dealing with - I recommend you go to Babelfish's free online translator. I know that many of you use Google Translate. It isn't bad - per se - but Google does not do a great job of translating. If you really want a pro turning that gobbly-gook into English, try Babelfish.