Is ChatGPT A Good Translator? Yes With GPT-4 As The Engine

20 Jan 2023  ·  Wenxiang Jiao, Wenxuan Wang, Jen-tse Huang, Xing Wang, Shuming Shi, Zhaopeng Tu ·

This report provides a preliminary evaluation of ChatGPT for machine translation, including translation prompt, multilingual translation, and translation robustness. We adopt the prompts advised by ChatGPT to trigger its translation ability and find that the candidate prompts generally work well with minor performance differences. By evaluating on a number of benchmark test sets, we find that ChatGPT performs competitively with commercial translation products (e.g., Google Translate) on high-resource European languages but lags behind significantly on low-resource or distant languages. As for the translation robustness, ChatGPT does not perform as well as the commercial systems on biomedical abstracts or Reddit comments but exhibits good results on spoken language. Further, we explore an interesting strategy named $\mathbf{pivot~prompting}$ for distant languages, which asks ChatGPT to translate the source sentence into a high-resource pivot language before into the target language, improving the translation performance noticeably. With the launch of the GPT-4 engine, the translation performance of ChatGPT is significantly boosted, becoming comparable to commercial translation products, even for distant languages. Human analysis on Google Translate and ChatGPT suggests that ChatGPT with GPT-3.5 tends to generate more hallucinations and mis-translation errors while that with GPT-4 makes the least errors. In other words, ChatGPT has already become a good translator. Please refer to our Github project for more details:

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