ChatGPT vs Google Translate

Cher Hin Chong
3 min readMar 9
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Have we ever found ourselves reading something online that is written in, say Spanish, and then need to translate that to English?

Or receiving a WhatsApp message that is in French which we don’t understand and we need to translate it to English? Or an email message that needs to be translated?

We can translate any text from one language to another using Google Translate. It supports more than 100 languages, and can recognize speech as well as images — and even handwritten text.

Google Translate can translate text on the fly while we are online. We can also install the Google Translate app on desktops as well as mobile devices. It is one of the most widely used translation apps.

However, the technology behind Google Translate is such that it mainly translates word for word. In this process, it is not able to recognize the “meaning” of the word within the context of the sentence. This puts the accuracy of its translation into question.

Here comes ChatGPT. This revolutionary deep learning model is able to “meaningfully” translate text because its pre-training process has allowed it to understand better how sentences are constructed in different languages.

ChatGPT, like other machine learning models, produces much more accurate translations based on context and intended meaning. This is the right direction moving forward as Google has also augmented its Google Translate to incorporate some AI-driven features.

As an example, the English language uses idioms frequently to convey intent figuratively. A non-AI powered translation engine will not be able to recognize that the text contains words that don’t literally mean what it says.

Take this idiom:

“Kick the bucket”

The meaning and intent is to die or break down or stop working.

But if taken word for word for its meaning, it is saying to go and physically kick the bucket.

Here is another example:

Son: Dad, I hate Math. I don’t like problem solving.

Dad: Son, your Math exam is tomorrow. Can you just bite the bullet and burn the midnight oil just for one day?

Cher Hin Chong

A software developer who has found the penchant for writing. Without writers, there will be no readers.