My Adventure with ChatGPT translating a book

Translating My German Tourism Book "Tourism Next"


Daniel Egger

3/28/20232 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 were far from publication-ready. Common issues included excessive use of passive voice, an overabundance of "buts," and missing quotation marks. Additionally, the context was occasionally lost in translation, making some passages difficult to understand.

To provide a clearer picture of the challenges faced, Grammarly Pro suggested a staggering 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 overly eloquent suggestions.

Undaunted, I dedicated 50 hours to reworking the book and employed ChatGPT 4.0 for select passages where I felt 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 style of book are not yet 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 wider 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 to be 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 can confidently say that 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 offered 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.