ChatGPT seems to be the word on everyone’s lips. The popular chatbot from OpenAI took the world by storm when it launched in November 2022. Within just two months, it reached 100 million monthly active users to become the fastest-growing consumer application in history. It has since been widely adopted across industries for thousands of activities ranging from writing term papers to developing code, creating lesson plans to producing press releases.
If you are like most people out there, you have probably wondered or experimented with how to best leverage the possibilities this new technology has to offer. But is ChatGPT right for every industry and deliverable? Montage’s Lead Translator and Content Co-Creator, Rodolfo Gil, says the answer is no.
A professor of language, medical interpreter, translation project manager, and content co-creator, Rodolfo has produced and proofread hundreds of thousands of words in different languages. His extensive experience in the language industry and his deep understanding of how people’s origin, background, and daily life shape the way they read, write, and speak has made clear the benefits and limitations of tools like ChatGPT. In this post, he explores these topics and shares his insights on when technology should be embraced and why humans are essential when it comes to content creation, translation, and transcreation.
New Technologies Are Not Your Enemy
The world continues to evolve, and so do new technologies. When used properly, these innovations can help create efficiencies and reduce costs. For example, they can be particularly useful for conducting preliminary research, automating repeat tasks, or providing templates to work from. But they are not without risk.
Think about this scenario: Just like you might feel uneasy entrusting your life to a car’s autopilot when travelling at 70 mph, you might feel uncomfortable blindly entrusting all your content, confidential information, and brand assets to a machine. It is critical to assess the risks and rewards involved and determine where tools like ChatGPT are most appropriate. In instances where you are producing communications or other products where meaning and relevance are paramount, human expertise reigns supreme.
Why You Should Still Use Humans
Knowing your audience is key to creating effective communications. While ChatGPT has evolved to take instruction, they don’t have the same capacity for nuance, empathy, and context. For example, they don’t understand your audience’s existing beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors. As creators, we must account for the surrounding contextual factors to inform our communications in all languages and choose the right words to spark the desired actions among target audiences. For now, humans have the advantage.
Getting the Facts Straight
ChatGPT and other language models are trained using existing information available on the internet. Whether the information is fact, fiction, or a flat-out lie, if it’s on the web, it may end up in ChatGPT’s output. What’s more, ChatGPT is designed to convey information, even when it’s incorrect, in the most convincing way. While the experts and engineers behind ChatGPT try their best to ensure that the information is accurate and free from misinformation and disinformation, there is a good chance that you could still end up with inaccuracies. Even worse, you could be spreading them! When communicating about important, sensitive, or disputed topics, it’s essential to get the facts straight from the start and have peers as well as subject experts review your claims before publishing.
Avoiding Errors and Inconsistencies
Editing a document plagued with errors and inconsistencies feels like walking over a minefield. While it’s easy to edit a couple of paragraphs, what about lengthy documents you want to share with your stakeholders? Depending on the nature of your communication, the time and money saved initially may later be required for revisions. When creating proprietary or customized content, get it right from the start; give your team have the first and last word.
Conveying Meaning in Multiple Languages
Tools like ChatGPT are particularly vexing when translating communications into multiple languages. Although they have complete vocabularies in almost every language, they are limited to word-for-word translations. Without meaning and intent, literal translations of even the most common phrases in one language might not resonate in another. As such, the word-for-word translations produced by ChatGPT and other tools are often both error-ridden and easy to spot. They also come off as disingenuous when communicating to multicultural and multilingual audiences. When your words matter (and we believe they always do), ditch one-size-fits-all automated translations and choose expert-led transcreation.
We already noted that ChatGPT is designed to use the information available on the Internet. That means it prioritizes words or ideas in common use and deprioritizes those that are underrepresented. Consequently, ChatGPT has been accused of perpetuating biases in its outputs. In an increasingly diverse marketplace, this means content creators who use the tool must stay vigilant, especially when working with underserved communities, minorities, and advocacy groups.
Creating Authentic Content
Pick one: speed or authenticity. ChatGPT produces content at a rapid rate, allowing you to save time and money up front. But when content is produced by a robot, it unsurprisingly often sounds…robotic. Personality and authenticity are an opportunity cost when using tools like ChatGPT. When writing in all languages, AI-based apps lack musicality, rhythm, and sabor! If you aim to stand out and craft unique messages with style, it’s best to stick with a trusted team of content creators.
How Montage Can Help
Montage’s experts in content creation, translation, and transcreation services can help you create relevant and impactful communications in a variety of languages. We invite you to explore our communications capabilities and explore our relevant work for government and commercial clients.