Can ChatGPT help translators?
- 13 April 2023
- Posted by: Nereida BIRDWELL
- Categories: Post-editing, Terminology
Everyone has heard of Google Translate, Microsoft Translator or DeepL and more recently ChatGPT. In the last few years, these tools have made great strides forward thanks to artificial intelligence, and can help translators to do their job, without replacing them.
At Birdwell, we have been using CAT (Computer-Aided Translation: https: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-assisted_translation) tools for many years. These programs are not machine translation engines, but software known as translation memory programs, because they harness the recurrence of words, phrases and sentences in a document to ensure terminological and syntactic consistency in the translation.
Computer-assisted translation provides considerable help to translators, as a computer tool that is there to make their work easier and save them time.
This is also the case for machine translation engines: they should be considered as aids to help translation professionals work faster and reduce costs.
AI at the service of translators
Machine translation engines are equipped with artificial intelligence, a technology created from databases and algorithms that allow them to simulate human intelligence and reproduce behaviors similar to those generated by the human brain. Artificial intelligence can use technologies that have varying degrees of power, such as machine learning or deep learning. The latter technology is the one used in ChatGPT.
Can ChatGPT be used to translate texts, and produce an accurate translation?
ChatGPT is a conversational tool capable of holding a dialog with a person through text messages, thanks to artificial intelligence. The tool can provide answers to questions, but also produce high-quality, coherent written content from a simple written prompt. The tool can provide answers to questions, but also produce high-quality, coherent written content from a simple written prompt. D’où l’idée de l’utiliser pour de la traduction.
In an article on the Blog of the Master’s course “Specialized Multilingual Translation” (TSM) at the University of Lille, we can read the result of a translation experiment carried out using ChatGPT, conducted by a student. https://mastertsmlille.wordpress.com/2023/03/12/chatgpt-une-nouvelle-ere-de-traduction-automatique/
After comparing texts translated from English to French (and vice versa) in class against those translated by ChatGPT, the student concludes: ” Despite its major terminological problems and its sometimes overly literal translations, I think that OpenAI’s software could be an asset in machine translation, just like DeepL or Google Translation… I was pleasantly surprised to be able to obtain better translations from the tool by adding details to my requests, and sometimes even providing it with some vocabulary words that were absent from its database. Adding customer instructions works particularly well when translating from English to French and vice versa.”
When the student performed the same experiment with a Chinese text to be translated into French, she had to go through the step of translating first from Chinese into English, and then into French, which complicated the process and generated a lot of Anglicisms and terminology errors.
To conclude, it is important to remember that translating texts is not ChatGPT‘s primary purpose. In addition, like machine translation engines with artificial intelligence, ChatGPT still has many limitations that require extensive post-editing by human translators. The quality of human translation remains essential and unmatched by computers when it comes to ensuring accuracy and nuance in the translation of certain content.
At Birdwell Translation & Technologies, we follow these developments with interest, and adapt our services to meet our clients’ needs effectively.
Our teams, supported by these new tools, are at your disposal to offer you personalized advice according to your document types and the expected quality. Feel free to contact us!