Is ChatGPT any Good for Translation?

Assessing ChatGPT as a Translation Tool: Pros, Cons, and Future Prospects.
Lucky Eze
10 in
Table of Contents

In today's rapidly evolving world of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) has become an indispensable tool in various industries, including translation services. One of the most talked-about AI tools in recent times is ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI. Its ability to engage in human-like conversations and generate responses on various topics has sparked curiosity about its potential as a translation tool. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of using ChatGPT for translation and examine how it compares to other popular options like Google Translate.

Understanding ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI conversational system created by OpenAI. Built on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture, it is an artificial intelligence whose general intelligence leverages a vast database to generate human-like responses. While it is primarily designed for engaging in casual conversations and assisting with various tasks, such as answering customer questions and generating creative content, ChatGPT also includes translating text as one of its potential use cases.

Evaluating ChatGPT's Translation Capabilities

Before we dive into the effectiveness of ChatGPT as a translation tool, it's important to note that currently, it is a text-only system. This means it requires users to input a text prompt for translation, unlike tools like the free Google Translate mobile app, which can translate live speech and text in images through its Lens technology. However, if we focus solely on translating text for humans, how does ChatGPT stack up against Google Translate, one of the most advanced AI translation tools available?

To assess ChatGPT's translation abilities, let's examine a comparison between the two tools using a real-world example. We randomly selected a tweet from a non-English account and tested both ChatGPT and Google Translate for their translations. The tweet, written in Spanish, was about the 2023 Premios Goya, the prestigious award ceremony for cinema and arts in Spain.

When we input the tweet into ChatGPT and asked it to translate the text into English, it provided the following response: "Discover all the musical performances, schedules, stars, companies that award prizes, favorites, and a contest: a guide to the 37th edition of the Goya Awards." On the other hand, Google Translate produced an answer with a similar translation: "Discover all the musical performances, schedules, award-winning stars, favorites, and a contest: a guide to the 37th edition of the Goya Awards."

Overall, the translations provided by both tools are quite similar, with only a minor difference in translating the verb "entregar" (to hand, sign over, or award). ChatGPT accurately translated it as "to award," while Google Translate used "to win" or "to receive." In this particular example, ChatGPT's translation aligns better with the official translations for "entregar," showcasing its accuracy.

While this example demonstrates ChatGPT's potential as a translation tool, it's important to note that some details of ChatGPT's translations may require human review and correction, as acknowledged by the tool itself. Human feedback and involvement are crucial to ensure computer translations' accuracy and quality, particularly for complex or technical content.

The Advantages of ChatGPT for Translation

Despite the need for human intervention and review, ChatGPT offers several advantages as a translation tool. Let's explore some of these benefits:

1. Improved Context Understanding

Unlike traditional machine translation approaches, which often rely on word-for-word translation, ChatGPT aims to understand and determine the meaning and underlying message of the text before performing the translation. This context-based approach allows for more accurate translations, especially when dealing with idiomatic expressions or phrases that require interpretation beyond literal translation.

2. Assistance to Human Translators

ChatGPT can serve to act as a valuable tool for human translators, enhancing their productivity and efficiency. By leveraging ChatGPT's capabilities, translators can access suggestions and test potential translations, reducing the time required for manual research and development and improving overall workflow.

3. Cost and Time Efficiency

Integrating ChatGPT into the translation process can lead to cost and time savings. Automated translation suggestion systems can expedite the initial translation process, allowing translators to focus on specific tasks while reviewing and refining the output. This streamlined workflow enables faster turnaround times without compromising quality.

4. Accessibility for Small Businesses and Individuals

Traditionally, professional translation services have been costly and often inaccessible to small businesses and individuals. ChatGPT, with its potential for accurate machine translations and cost-effective implementation of large language models, can make translation services more affordable and accessible for a wider range of users.

Limitations and Challenges of ChatGPT as a Translation Tool

While ChatGPT offers several advantages, it is essential to consider its limitations and challenges. Here are some factors to be aware of:

1. Inaccuracy and Lack of Contextual Understanding

ChatGPT's translation service, for instance, although impressive, may still lack accuracy and contextual understanding in certain scenarios. Complex or technical content, sensitive cultural nuances, and idiomatic expressions can pose challenges for the tool, leading to potential inaccuracies or misinterpretations.

2. Privacy and Information Security

When using ChatGPT or similar AI tools, it is crucial to consider the privacy and security implications. While ChatGPT assures users that the information they input is not stored or used for any purpose other than generating a response, there is still a risk of data breaches or unauthorized access to sensitive information. Users should exercise caution and avoid sharing confidential business, other data, or sensitive content through AI translation tools.

3. Copyright Infringement Risks

ChatGPT, like other AI translation tools, may be unable to consider copyright laws and intellectual property restrictions and create those that protect itself in its translations. This means that users should be cautious when translating content that may be subject to copyright protection, as the responsibility for potential infringement lies with the user, not the AI tool.

4. Language Limitations

While ChatGPT supports multiple languages, it cannot automatically translate every language. Users should ensure that their browser and desired language pair are supported before relying solely on ChatGPT for translation needs.

5. Text-Only Support

As a free text-only system, ChatGPT cannot provide translations for images, videos, or audio files. This limitation restricts its application to text-based content and automatically excludes multimedia translation requirements.

The Future of ChatGPT in Translation

Considering these examples of the advantages and limitations of ChatGPT as a machine translation tool to date, it is clear that it holds promise but is not yet a fully reliable standalone option. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect further improvements in accuracy, contextual understanding, and language support. However, it is unlikely that AI translation tools like ChatGPT will completely replace human translators in the near future.

Instead, ChatGPT and similar computer methods and tools should be seen as valuable resources that complement human translation expertise. By using ChatGPT in conjunction with human translators, we can achieve faster and more efficient translations without compromising quality. Human review and correction remain essential to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations, particularly for complex or sensitive content.


In conclusion, ChatGPT offers an exciting glimpse into the potential of AI translation tools. Its ability to engage in human-like conversations and generate translations demonstrates its value as a resource and service for translators and individuals seeking quick and cost-effective translations. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the limitations and challenges that AI tools like ChatGPT face, including potential inaccuracies, privacy concerns, fraud, and copyright infringement risks.

As the field of AI translation continues to develop and evolve, it is important to strike a balance between leveraging AI tools' capabilities and preserving human translators' expertise and creativity. By combining the strengths of AI systems and human translation skills, we can achieve optimal results in terms of accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and efficiency.

Lucky Eze
Lucky Ezeihuaku is an SEO expert and specialist Translation content writer with Bureau Works. He has a master’s degree in English and Literature, and has been writing professionally for at least 7 years. He has gone on to specialize in the Translation and Localization niche, churning out multiple quality, informative, and optimized articles for Bureau Works over the past year. He claims writing and developing SEO strategies keeps him going, and he’s also interested in Data Analytics.
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