AI tools like ChatGPT have become commonplace and are being used as translation aids. But how good are AI translations really? What are the trends and the risks?
And which new requirements have emerged on the translation market as a result of AI translations? Language service provider SwissGlobal explains it all.
AI-powered translation systems have progressed considerably over the past few years. Today, they form an integral part of various everyday situations, whether overcoming language barriers when travelling or translating smaller volumes of text quickly at work.
Watch out, however: these breakneck advances in technology are bringing new challenges and dangers with them. The fact is that regular users partially do not understand (any more) what actually makes these AI tools tick, and where their limits lie. Where is the data used and saved? What are the legal conditions?
“How do I know that this AI-generated translation is accurate and of adequate quality?”
It is precisely this question that is increasingly leading clients to turn to us as a translation service provider. Are you a member of this client group too? Would you like to incorporate AI translation tools into your daily routine or your business model? Are you not exactly sure how to check or correct an AI translation, and are you having doubts when it comes to security and confidentiality?
We will answer all your most important questions in this FAQ blog article from our perspective as a professional Swiss language service provider.
What is ChatGPT and can it do everything?
ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence and developed by OpenAI (GPT stands for Generative Pretrained Transformer). This bot uses modern machine learning technology to generate answers to questions asked by users.
ChatGPT can write, analyse, reformulate and (naturally) translate texts, among other things. The AI can also program and write basic code. Are you looking for a recipe for carrot cake or after a 3-day travel agenda for a citybreak to Madrid? ChatGPT can answer questions on a wide range of topics.
I use ChatGPT as a translation tool. What should I be aware of?
Anyone using ChatGPT to translate texts should be aware of the following issues:
- Data protection and security:
If you use AI translation services like ChatGPT as a private individual, your text data may be processed and saved by service providers. You should therefore never use an AI translation tool for sensitive or confidential texts.
If you are translating texts covered by copyright, the copyright-holder’s rights to the source text under § 23 Swiss Federal Copyright Act (CopA) still apply. This means that you may not make free use of the text without becoming liable for breach of copyright.
Contrary to human translators, AI translation tools have difficulty identifying context. This can lead to contextually false or misleading translations. ChatGPT is a little ahead of the curve in this regard, as it translates at a ‘whole document’ level instead of sentence-by-sentence.
- Inaccuracies and errors:
In languages with complex grammar, idiomatic expressions or cultural nuances, AI tools often produce inaccurate or meaningless translations. This can lead to misunderstandings, communication problems and potentially irreversible embarrassment.
- Stereotypes and discrimination:
AI models can unintentionally reproduce prejudices contained in their training data. This can lead to biased translations that bolster stereotypes or discriminatory language. A human translator, on the other hand, can pay attention to linguistic nuances such as inclusive and gender-sensitive language.
How can I have an AI translation checked?
There is one service specially designed to check machine-generated translations. This service is known as ‘post-editing’. This involves having a human translator check and optimise a translation generated by machine, also known as a machine translation. However, the better option is to order the machine translation directly from the translation service provider. You can find out more about the benefits below.
What is the difference between post-editing and proofreading?
In post-editing, a translation is comprehensively checked for its style, spelling and grammar. The post-editor will also check that the target text is an accurate reproduction of the source text or, put simply, they will ensure that it is a faithful and correct translation in every aspect and that the AI has not added any additional content or swallowed any content during the translation process.
Proofreading, on the other hand, merely involves checking a text (in this case, a translation) for grammar, spelling and punctuation. With this option, you have no guarantee that the text is an accurate and high-quality translation of your source text. The style and tone may also not be appropriate for the type of text.
What is PEMT?
PEMT stands for ‘Post-Editing + Machine Translation’. It describes the virtually all-round package formed by the combined services of machine translation and subsequent post-editing by a language service provider. With this option, you provide your document for translation and the language service provider takes care of the whole process, from the machine translation to the subsequent checking. This gives you the benefit of data security and the result will be close to a human translation.
Should I have a machine translation done myself using a free tool or should I order it from a professional?
These days, the word ‘free’ usually comes with a few strings attached. The same is true of AI translation tools.
ChatGPT, for example, can translate an unlimited amount of text. When you enter a larger volume of text, however, the machine starts to have trouble understanding the context.
DeepL, on the other hand, can translate only 1000 characters of text for free. Translating anything longer requires a paid DeepL Pro account.
When you order a machine translation from a professional language service provider like SwissGlobal, you will be paying for the translation, but you will get all the benefits of:
- guaranteed data security, since – contrary to with a free tool – your texts will be fed into the machine via a secure interface and will not be released unprotected onto the internet. Your texts will remain on our secure servers throughout the translation process and will not be temporarily stored anywhere else or used to train AI tools;
- higher quality, as we as the service provider have control over how the translation is done. If the text you supply to us has been translated by machine, there may already be errors in it;
- the option of ordering the comprehensive PEMT service directly from us. This means you will get the best value for money for a machine translation that will also be checked and optimised.
- Depending on the language combination, the results from a machine translation run by a language service provider can turn out better than those from a free tool. Free tools learn from the data we feed into them. This means that those tools are more well-trained in some languages than in others.
For which texts can I use a free translation tool – and for which ones should I not?
Strictly speaking, you should use free translation tools in a few specific cases only. These include:
- Small text volumes
- Common language combinations (e.g. English-Spanish) Here you can find the list of all languages currently supported by ChatGPT.
- Translations done for information only
- Texts that do not need to be handled confidentially
- Texts that will not be published or distributed anywhere
- Texts that do not contain any technical terminology
Looking to save time and money? This is the best translation solution on the market!
Looking to use artificial intelligence to save time and money? Including in your translations? We understand completely, and won’t hold this against you. On the contrary: Here at SwissGlobal, we strive to implement new technologies as resources and use them to support our human expertise. Our motto is: Human + machine gives the best results.
If you do not have the time or the budget for a human translation, we recommend you opt for the MTPE service. This combination service of machine translation + post-editing offers a professional all-round package with guaranteed data security and quality assurance at an affordable price.
Are you still unsure which service is the most suitable one for your translation? The experienced team at SwissGlobal will be glad to help you further and send you a free consultation.