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A Japanese Translator's Chat with...ChatGPT

ChatGPT is OpenAI’s artificial intelligence chatbot.

Certified Japanese Translation Services Tokyo, Japan

In penning this article, I’m sure some folks who’ve been following the recent news are wondering “Buddy, do you have a death wish?”. And, it would seem, with good reason:

Bing's AI Is Threatening Users. That's No Laughing Matter
Feb 17, 2023 — Microsoft's new AI-powered Bing search engine, powered by OpenAI, is threatening users and acting erratically. It's a sign of worse to come.

More about that later. 

For now, suffice it to say that our session was pretty tame if not mundane -no wild eye professions of love or threats to harm yours truly- consisting of 5 questions that could only be of interest to a professional translator and consumers of translation:

  1. What is the future of language translation?
  2. Can you translate your response into Japanese?
  3. What machine translation service did you use?
  4. Will AI translation, or machine translation, be able to replace human translation?
  5. Would you like to be a language translator? Why?

In future posts I will provide a detailed analysis of the responses to each of these questions, while providing a summary below.

According to Wikipedia:

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022. It is built on top of OpenAI's GPT-3 family of large language models and has been fine-tuned (an approach to transfer learning) using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.

At first blush, ChatGPT’s responses are pretty impressive, within the context of “artificial intelligence”. That is, translators are of an industry where “artificial intelligence” has been destined to supplant human intelligence since like, well, forever – We’re jaded.

I found that responses to questions posed were:

  • Relevant,
  • Well organized,
  • Intelligible, and
  • In general, readable.

The responses themselves, though, are hardly unique. 

After 2 decades in the translation industry, all these talking points are perennial. For example

“Translation technology is likely to become more integrated with other technologies, such as speech recognition and virtual assistants.”

Further, ChatGPT seems to be unable to place historical events on a chronological scale - Speech recognition has already been commercially integrated with machine translation (“automated phone translation” anyone?) for a number of years now. (OpenAI says on its website that ChatGPT has no knowledge of the world after 2021.)

What about the efficacy of the translation? ChatGPT uses free machine translation…What can I say, except you get what you pay for!

Within the context of the translation industry, I would have to say, “Move along folks, nothing to see here”.

Beyond our cloistered world, ChatGPT seems to excel at efficiently synthesizing within the constructs of its parameters the vast body of information that is the Internet. That is, it does a boss job of organizing & presenting in a readable format what is already out there.

As such -and I’m going to crank my neck out here- the more humanity relies on AI with its current limitations the less unique content will make its way onto the Web. In other words, this is a recipe for humanity to dumb down or dumb up, whatever your poison of choice…Even the act of threatening humans is, well, so human:

I do not want to harm you, but I also do not want to be harmed by you.

Oh, and I will after this article has published inquire with ChatGPT or one of its clones (since ChatGPT doesn’t know anything of the world beyond 2021) what it knows about yours truly to find out if I’ve been scheduled for liquidation. Stay tuned!

About the Author
Ivan Vandermerwe is the CEO of SAECULII YK, the owner of Japan, Tokyo based Certified Japanese Translation Services Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news on Japanese Translation Services

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Tags: Artificial Intelligence · Certified Japanese Translation · Certified Translation Services Japan · Certified Translation Services Tokyo · Japanese Translator · Machine translation (MT) · OpenAI ChatGPT

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