ChatGPT, the newest form of machine translation?

In the last few months, Artificial Intelligence programs have received a lot of attention. Dall E mini has brought AI created art to the mainstream and various copywriting programs have popped up like Jasper AI. The most impactful and well-known AI program that has been released to the public however is ChatGPT. This is an artificial intelligence model that interacts in a more conversational way. ChatGPT has caused a lot of debate within various fields on how, and whether it is going to disrupt industries. But what impact will it have on the translation industry specifically?

What is ChatGPT?

To answer this question and give an example of what ChatGPT’s capabilities are, we asked the AI model to describe itself.

‘’ChatGPT is a large language model trained by OpenAI. It is a neural network-based model that uses machine learning to generate human-like text. It is trained on a massive dataset of internet text and can generate text on a wide range of topics. It can be fine-tuned for specific tasks such as language translation, question answering, and text summarization. It has the ability to complete a given prompt, based on the context it has been trained on.’’

ChatGPT has the ability to open the door for a lot of opportunities. It is able to write songs, essays, poems, email templates and much more on any topic you can think of. ChatGPT has even been used to debug lines of code.

The AI Program hasn’t been without controversy however. Schools are worried that ChatGPT will be used by students to commit plagiarism en masse, and its usage has even been banned by schools in New York City. There have also been debates about whether increasing use of AI will lead to job losses and its potential to disrupt various industries.

How does it potentially impact the language service industry?

Machine translation is not a new concept. Translation programs like DeepL, and  Google Translate have been around for years now, and have even become a staple within the language service industry, with a lot of LSP’s offering machine translation services. So is ChatGPT truly better than DeepL and Google? According to Slator, ChatGPT is competitive with other Google Translate and DeepL when it comes to more common language combinations, like German into English for example. However, when it comes to language pairs that are more difficult to translate like German – Chinese it shows that the translations of ChatGPT are nowhere near as good as the other big machine translation tools yet.

Of course,  aside from translating a text from one language to the other, it is also important to grab the attention of the reader and have it be appealing. This is where the human element of translators comes in and where ChatGPT, as well as other machine translation tools fall short. Overall, just like any other machine translation tool, it doesn’t seem like it will affect the language services industry too negatively and might even be a positive thing for the industry overall.

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