I’m very impressed with the progress Google Translate has made.
A few years ago I was asked to translate a book from German to English and as an experiment and in the hope that this would save me at least some of the tedious (and boring) backbreaking work, I sent the text through Google Translate . The result was unusable; the necessary post-editing would have taken more time and effort than a complete re-translation. Since then, I’ve only used the service to create short Facebook posts or comments, or emails, in French or Dutch, which I then edit; I find it harder to write in both languages than to speak, but due to extensive reading I have a good feel for the languages and can edit the translations a bit.
Yesterday I wanted to translate an article about the Ascension of Christ, and because I am currently bedridden, I am somewhat restricted in terms of typing on a keyboard, so I sent the article through Google Translate .
To my astonishment, the result was vastly better than my experience of a few years ago. While there were a few glitches (snippets of text that had gone missing, a few bits that were gibberish for one reason or another), overall the text was quite readable. Most of the post-processing involved formatting.
This raises a similar question for me as using the ChatGPT AI engine . Most of the time ChatGPT answers questions correctly and in such elegant German and English that one can use them almost without editing; would it then be ethical to pass off such an answer as my own? In the end I decided to either attribute the answer to ChatGPT , or (if I’ve significantly edited or added to it) to call it a result of my collaboration with ChatGPT .
The more Google Translate (or other similar services) improves, the less post-processing is needed, the more problematic it becomes to pass off such a translation as my own. Again, indicating support from the translation service seems to be the ethical solution.
Next, I will try other translation services, such as Bing Translator from Microsoft or Deepl Translate , as well as ChatGPT for shorter texts (which currently has an output limit of 2048 characters per answer, even for paying subscribers).