My Adventure with ChatGPT translating a book

Translating My German Tourism Book "Tourism Next"


Daniel Egger

3/28/20233 min read

The quote "If we don't change our ways, we'll become obsolete" from the book "Beyond the Peaks" reflects the urgent need for adaptation in the ever-evolving tourism landscape. This sentiment inspired me to harness the power of artificial intelligence, specifically ChatGPT, to translate my German book "Tourismus NEXT" into English. The book offers a comprehensive analysis of the opinions of tourism industry experts, with over 700 thought-provoking quotes written in a collective "we" style. This unique format presented an intriguing challenge for AI translation.

Embracing the possibilities of AI, I embarked on the translation journey using ChatGPT version 3.5 and some innovative prompt engineering. While the initial results showed promise, they needed to be more publication-ready. Common issues included excessive use of passive voice, an overabundance of "buts," and missing quotation marks. Additionally, the context could have been more precise in translation, making some passages difficult to understand.

To provide a clearer picture of the challenges, Grammarly Pro suggested 1,857 changes for my 140-page manuscript! Recognizing the need for improvement, I revised the content and turned to ChatGPT for further fine-tuning. I sought to enhance sentence flow and increase word count, but unfortunately, versions 3.5 and 4.0 did not live up to expectations, generating overly simplistic or eloquent suggestions.

Undaunted, I dedicated 50 hours to reworking the book and employed ChatGPT 4.0 for select passages where the wording could be improved. This persistence paid off, yielding better results.

The experience with AI translation led to several key takeaways:

  1. Publish-ready translations for this book style are yet to be achievable using AI alone. However, AI can significantly accelerate the process, saving time and effort.

  2. Combining AI tools such as ChatGPT and Grammarly can substantially improve the clarity and quality of the translation, making the content more accessible to a broader audience.

  3. Despite the advancements in AI technology, manual revision, contextualization, and enrichment remain essential components of the translation process. Human input is still necessary to achieve the desired level of accuracy and nuance.

  4. The final "polishing" of the book using ChatGPT 4.0 proved invaluable. This version of the AI tool excelled in refining the content, ensuring a more polished and coherent final product.

Reflecting on this journey, I would embrace the AI translation process again. The potential for AI to revolutionize the way we approach translation is immense, and I eagerly anticipate future developments in this field.

In conclusion, the experience of translating "Tourismus NEXT" into "Beyond the Peaks" highlights the power of AI to bridge language barriers and bring valuable insights to an international audience. Despite the challenges encountered, this journey has demonstrated that AI translation is a valuable tool for enhancing accessibility and understanding in the ever-changing world of tourism. By harnessing AI's capabilities, we can better share knowledge and ideas, driving the necessary change to ensure the tourism industry remains resilient and innovative in the face of adversity.

I encourage you to explore the insights and perspectives in "Beyond the Peaks" and join the conversation on the importance of change and adaptation in the tourism sector. The future of tourism depends on our ability to embrace new technologies and ideas, working together to create a more sustainable and vibrant industry for all.


Question: What motivated the author to use AI, specifically ChatGPT, to translate "Tourismus NEXT" into English?

Answer: Inspired by the book "Beyond the Peaks," the author decided to leverage AI, specifically ChatGPT, to translate "Tourismus NEXT" into English, aiming to adapt to the evolving tourism landscape and share the book's valuable insights with a broader, international audience.

Question: What challenges were faced during the initial translation process with ChatGPT?

Answer: Initial challenges with the AI translation included excessive use of passive voice, overuse of "buts," missing quotation marks, and occasional loss of context. Grammarly Pro suggested a whopping 1,857 changes for the 140-page manuscript.

Question: How were AI tools like ChatGPT and Grammarly helpful in translation?

Answer: Despite the initial challenges, combining AI tools like ChatGPT and Grammarly helped accelerate the translation process, improved the clarity and quality of translation, and made the content more accessible, although manual revision was still necessary.

Question: What was the author's key takeaway from the AI translation process?

Answer: The author concluded that while AI can't yet provide publish-ready translations for this book style alone, it can significantly speed up the process. Manual revision and human input remain necessary for context and accuracy, but AI, particularly ChatGPT 4.0, can provide invaluable final "polishing."

Question: How does the author view the future of AI in the field of translation, especially in the context of the tourism sector?

Answer: The author sees immense potential in AI for revolutionizing translation, especially for making insights and ideas more accessible in the ever-changing tourism sector. By embracing AI's capabilities, the tourism industry can better share knowledge, innovate, and remain resilient in adversity.