Here’s how ChatGPT’s translation features can simplify language understanding
By now most of us have heard or are familiar with ChatGPT, the generative artificial intelligence (AI) platform that has numerous talents, from generating code and writing stories or blog posts to explaining scientific or economic concepts in language a child can understand. One of the numerous things it can do is translate text to and from many of the languages spoken worldwide. TCL explores the benefits of ChatGPT as a translation tool.
1. Why would you use ChatGPT rather than another translation service?
Tools such as Google Translate offer translations to and from a wide range of languages. But you can’t prompt them to provide a translation that meets your specific needs the way you can with ChatGPT. Google Translate will offer you its best-effort translation, but you can’t refine the output according to factors such as tone, style and purpose. With ChatGPT, you can prompt and question the AI until you get what you want.
2. How should you use ChatGPT to get translations?
In general, the more specific the prompt you give to ChatGPT, the more likely you are to get the sort of output you are looking for. Sometimes, it can be helpful to ask for clarifications or to indicate when the programme isn’t giving you what you want. These rules also apply to translations.
Some of the things you could consider as you craft your translation prompts include:
Specify the source language and target language. In some cases, you can specify regional dialect.
Give context and intended audience.
Tell ChatGPT what sort of document the source text is.
Specify the style and tone you are seeking.
Ask for alternatives and explanations about when they would be used.
A few examples of the sorts of prompts you can use include:
“Translate this haiku from Japanese into English in words a 10-year old would understand.”
“Translate this legal contract from English into Afrikaans, maintaining a formal style.”
“Translate this chat to isiZulu, keeping it fun and informal.”
“Translate this medical document from Japanese into English using layman’s terms.”
“How would I greet someone in French? Give me three examples and when it would be appropriate to use each.”
“Translate this short story from Russian to English, keeping the cultural references and colloquialisms.”
3. ChatGPT can support your language-learning journey
If you’re learning a new language, ChatGPT’s translation software can help you out. Try bashing out a few sentences in the language you are learning and ask ChatGPT to critique your grammar and spelling. Or ask ChatGPT to pretend to be a native speaker in the language of your choice and practice your conversational skills.
4. ChatGPT has its limitations as any other translation service
ChatGPT is impressive as a translation tool, especially considering that this is not its main purpose. But it’s not 100% accurate and errors can creep in. Also bear in mind that ChatGPT isn’t quite as proficient in African languages such as isiXhosa, isiZulu, or Sesotho as it is in the major European and Asian languages. If you need to translate a sensitive document like a legal contract or a medical document, it’s wise to ask a professional translator or a mother tongue-speaker to help.