Will ChatGPT Take Over Translation Services?​

Will ChatGPT Take Over Translation Services?

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last few months (or don’t spend every free moment on social media), you’ll have seen endless tweets and think-pieces about the wonders of ChatGPT. Since it was opened up to the public in November 2022, users have been shocked at the accuracy, and have been flocking to similar tools to test out their reliability and effectiveness — particularly in the digital marketing arena.

For us, using AI is nothing new — in fact, we’ve been using natural language processing and machine translation software in various forms for years. However, as AI writing tools and bots become more widespread, will we rely on them even more? Will they be able to produce content that appeals to users and overtake copywriters, translators and content marketers?

Read on to find out more…and forgive us for adding to the already crowded “ChatGPT” content space!

 

What is Natural Language Processing?

Natural language processing, or NLP, combines computer science, linguistics and artificial intelligence to teach computers to understand and process human language. The overall goal is a computer that is capable of not just “understanding” content but is also able to interpret the contextual nuances of the language used. 

NLP breaks down the text into bitesize chunks, and with the help of machine learning algorithms and statistical models, the computer can learn the patterns of the inputted language and create its own output based on this learning.

So that’s the (basic) how, but why?

Put simply, delegating typically monotonous or repetitive tasks to a natural language processor increases efficiency. Whether it’s a customer service chatbot on an eCommerce site, Siri or Google Maps giving you directions, or even a program that pulls out medical information from doctor’s notes, there are endless examples of how NLP can be useful.  

For digital marketers, NLP has many uses:

  • Sentiment analysis – helps brands understand how customers are responding to their products/brand messaging based on online reviews or social mentions.
  • SEO strategy – NLP can identify the keywords being used so brands can utilise them in their content strategy.
  • Audience analytics – NLP can access data from various online platforms so brands can reach their target audience and serve them with more relevant paid ads. 
  • Lead generation – a chatbot on a homepage can act as an auto-responder for basic lead qualifiers.

 

Natural Language Processing and AI in Translation

If you have any involvement in translation or transcreation, you may already be aware of machine translation (MT) tools. They employ NLP to understand the inputted text in order to reproduce it in the new language. 

Google Translate is perhaps the most famous — enabling anyone to exhibit rudimentary language skills with a quick click of a button. Over the years, Google has expanded and refined its linguistic capabilities, with over 103 languages in the database as of January 2023. By employing neural machine translation, the engine attempts to translate sentences all in one go, rather than word by word, by taking context and grammatical clues into account. 

But, despite Google’s immense power, there are still examples of the Translate service not quite nailing the brief. For example, the Finnish idiom “menee yli hilseen” directly translates to “goes over the dandruff”, but colloquially means “too hard to understand”. So although it may be enough for simple, conversational translations, it won’t hit the mark for longer form content — especially if it’s to entice customers to make a purchase. In fact, it’s likely to alienate them more than using English! 

Google Translate image showing Finnish: Menee yli hilseen Actual meaning: Too hard to understand

Finnish: Menee yli hilseen

Actual meaning: Too hard to understand

Google translate showing Portuguese phrase "Dor de cotovelo" & English translation "Elbow pain"

Portuguese: Dor de cotovelo

Actual meaning: To be jealous

Google Translate image showing Hungarian: Kutyából nem lesz szalonna! Actual meaning: You won’t become something you’re not

Hungarian: Kutyából nem lesz szalonna!

Actual meaning: You won’t become something you’re not

Currently, any MT output needs a human to edit, tweak and reword to make sure it’s not only accurate but as engaging and contextually aware as possible. And this is really the crux of the conversation surrounding ChatGPT and other similar tools. Can these super-sonic AI chatbots really mimic the human element that makes marketing content effective and engaging?

Transcreation, Localization & AI

When it comes to translating marketing messaging effectively, we always advise our clients to consider transcreation services over translation. Transcreation takes the fundamental idea of the original copy but transforms it using cultural insights, local knowledge and a native understanding of the language, to ensure it appeals to the new target audience. 

But transcreation goes further than language. It can help shape entire marketing campaigns, alter promotions and even impact product launches. Having “feet on the ground” in the new target market can give brands valuable insight into the region and culture that no amount of online research can provide.

Do you see where we’re going with this?

ChatGPT, and all the other AI tools out there, rely solely on the information they’re given. Of course, there’s a wealth of information online about different cultures, religions and news stories that the tools can utilise. But is that enough to truly understand the world around us? Social media trends and influencers are constantly in flux, as is language itself. A brand targeting 20-somethings will need to mimic their phrases to attract customers, and it won’t be the same vocabulary needed for a brand targeting the over 60’s, that’s for sure! 

It’s this cultural and contextual nuance that can make or break a marketing campaign, even a brand. We’ve all seen what happens to culturally, or socially, insensitive campaigns — they’re instantly panned across Twitter causing the brand to scramble wildly to create an alternative ad or knock up a quick apology. 

There are many examples of ChatGPT tripping up when faced with basic logic problems, so being able to delve into complex cultural or religious details will be far beyond it’s reach for a long, long time. 

This isn’t to say we’re not fans! There are huge benefits to using such a tool, and we’re keen to see how it evolves in the future. But for now, we’ll stick to our talented bunch of linguists to get the very best work.

We haven’t covered the SEO implications of using these tools, which is a whole other kettle of fish. Come back for Part 2!

Mini Golf and Marketing Networking Event

Green mini-golf ball by a hole

You are invited to
An un-fore-gettable evening!

Get into the swing of things with a marketing networking event at Puttshack!

Managed Language and CopyHouse welcome you to our evening of mini golf, networking and marketing chatter on Thursday the 16th of February.

Whether you want to find out more about our content services or language and transcreation prowess, our expert team will be there to answer all your questions. We’re looking forward to an opportunity to share our knowledge with you, it’s going to be a tee-rific night!

In addition to a prosecco reception and tasty meal, we’ll putt your mini golf skills to the test on a high-tech course, with clever golf balls that track your gameplay and keep score as you play.

After the game, we’ll head back to our VIP area for more drinks and shop talk.


18:30:
Food and drinks

20:30: Mini golf begins!

22:30: Event ends

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Swing over to Eventbrite for tickets!

Tickets are £45 + booking fee

Date and time

Address

Puttshack Bank 

1 Poultry 

London

EC2R 8EJ

Who are we?

Managed Language 

A leading transcreation and multilingual SEO agency that will take your brand global by delivering your company across borders and making you sound like a local.

“We have your target language and your target culture at heart.”

CopyHouse

A content marketing agency specialising in B2B tech space. Offering content strategy, copywriting and B2B social, they supports brands to kickstart important conversations and build meaningful relationships.

Technology told well.

The Future of Translation: Our Predictions For Global Conversations in 2023

Abigail Cox

These days, it can be hard to keep up with the ever-changing digital marketing landscape. In fact, you might feel like you’re learning a whole new language every week just to keep up with the latest Google algorithm update, TikTok challenge or who’s running Twitter. Luckily, we’re language and marketing experts and although we can’t predict Elon’s next move, we do have some valuable insights into the future of translation and transcreation that can help you take your brand global in 2023. 

What is Transcreation?

Transcreation could be described as ‘creative translation’. Rather than directly translating the copy into the chosen new language, linguists will infuse the copy with cultural insights and local knowledge to ensure the message resonates with the target audience. This may mean adapting the wording or even suggesting a design alteration.

Learn more about Managed Language’s transcreation services.

As the world becomes ever more connected, our communication needs to change. Although language and translation have been continuously evolving for hundreds of years, artificial intelligence, chatbots and machine learning have revolutionised the field. Below are our predictions for the biggest translation trends for the next 12 months.

Trend 1: AI and Machine Translation

Machine translation is nothing new, in fact, we’ve been tinkering with updates to our own software for years. But, with significant advances in artificial intelligence, it’s now possible to simulate human reasoning — meaning the output is more reliable and more readable. 

But what exactly is AI translation? It’s a machine translation process based on algorithms and deep learning, giving it the ability to reason and understand the source text to construct new sentences in the target language. By employing a system of neural networks inspired by the human brain, AI allows software programmes to learn new words, structure sentences and even interpret contextual information. Impressive, right?

AI image

This is likely to go from strength to strength in the next 12 months as AI technology such as ChatGPT and Jasper AI become more widely used. Recently, ChatGPT has been all over social media, with digital marketers around the globe waxing lyrical about its ability to respond to technical and intricate questions with well-reasoned responses and thoughtful translations. 

However, there are drawbacks to AI-driven translations. The time and vast data sets needed to train a machine translation programme to give you high-quality results can be costly, and that’s before considering the ‘trial and error’ phase. Most importantly, AI is still not a perfect substitute for living, breathing linguists. Despite being based on human reasoning, machine translation cannot replicate the emotional nuances and cultural insights that make marketing copy so engaging. And sarcasm or irony? No chance. 

Trend 2: Emerging Markets

Over the last few years, trying to make waves in emerging markets has been a risky move. But with trade deals being struck, supply chains solidifying and exchange rates strengthening, the future is looking much brighter for global expansion

But, when aiming for world domination (or something slightly less sinister), brands need to consider how their marketing campaigns will capture the attention of their new target audience. A cultural misstep when choosing the tone, imagery or even overall messaging can dramatically damage brand reputation, which is why more and more companies are turning to transcreation agencies to help them navigate new markets.

Although a historical example, Parker Pens’ attempt at capturing the Mexico market is infamous. Attempting to take the “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” slogan global, the company believed the Spanish translation for ‘embarrass’ was embarazar.  In fact, it means ‘impregnate’, leading to…

Parker marketing message translated to "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant"

The lack of human insight and linguistic nuance led to a very awkward marketing campaign — albeit a funny one. 

A quick Google search of ‘translation marketing mistakes’ will offer a whole host of similarly cringe-worthy campaigns from some of the biggest brands in the world such as adidas, Coca-Cola and McDonalds. And while large-scale household names may be able to weather blunders like these, smaller companies need to take this into consideration before entering a new market. 

Over the coming year, India, China and Brazil (among others) will be building their spending power and become top targets for expanding businesses. Cultural norms and local values play a crucial role in the success of marketing campaigns in these countries, as well as the longevity of businesses in general. Finding a reputable and reliable transcreation agency to guide your growth will be imperative for breaking into these emerging marketings in 2023.

Trend 3: Localization

Did you know that at least 65% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if the website they’re browsing is written in their native language? And with the advent of machine translation and AI providing users with, at least, a basic native translation, this trend is only going to become more pronounced in the coming months.

With so many brands vying for a position in the global market, investing time and money into understanding the local culture could be the difference between a successful brand, and a failed one. Localization is so much more than just translation – it can give brands an insight into payment methods, design and even what products they should market in different regions. 

Slack is a great example of this. As the company expanded to other countries, the developers were able to use their valuable local research to adapt its helpful hints to engage and build trust with the target market. 

As we move forward into 2023, user experience will be at the forefront of every digital marketer’s mind: from interpreting local idioms to promoting products for just one region, understanding what the target audience wants and needs is the best way to build a brand.

Trend 4: Cultural Sensitivity

Accessibility and inclusivity has never been more important to consumers than it is now, and they’re quick to point out when a brand falls short. Whether it’s a badly worded campaign or an awkward attempt at celebrating Pride Month, brands can easily damage their reputation with a cultural faux pas. 

We’ve seen a lot of social, political and economic unrest over the last few years, and marketing blunders go hand-in-hand with this. Look at Pepsi’s collab with Kendall Jenner in 2017 that is still talked about for its trivialisation of Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, this is not a unique example — one quick Google search for ‘insensitive ad campaigns’ will bring up a myriad of cringe-worthy, unsympathetic marketing attempts. 

It is always best to approach such sensitive topics with caution — maybe sleep on your ‘genius’ marketing slant before pitching it to the boss. But if the go-ahead is given, it’s vital to take social cues, regional beliefs and local customs into account. A cultural review of your new market may be the only thing standing between a win and a loss.

Final Thoughts

We don’t presume to know the future, however we are experts when it comes to language and marketing. Over the past few years, the industry has had its ups and downs, but one thing remains constant: consumers respond to personalisation. Tailoring your site, or promotional materials, to your target audience is well worth the time, effort and money. 

Here at Managed Language, we’ve been working with these ideas in mind for years already. We have a full roster of talented, local writers who can transform your marketing content with cultural insights, local nuances and expert linguistic knowledge. Get in touch today to find out how we can take your brand global.

 

Looking to take your brand global in 2023?