Should you let chatGPT translate the bible into languages that it hasn’t been available in before?
No, it can help in various ways but AI is a tool that helps rather than replaces humans. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s how ChatGPT answered the question:
“As an AI language model, I am capable of translating text into different languages, including the Bible. However, it is important to note that the translation of the Bible is a sensitive and complex task that requires a deep understanding of the source text, as well as the culture and linguistic nuances of the target language.
While I can accurately translate words and phrases, I am not equipped to provide the necessary contextual and cultural understanding needed for an accurate and meaningful translation of the Bible. Therefore, it is recommended that any translations of the Bible be done by trained human translators who are well-versed in both the source and target languages, as well as the cultural and historical contexts of the Bible.
Additionally, it is important to respect the views and opinions of different religious groups and communities when it comes to translating religious texts like the Bible. Therefore, any decision to translate the Bible into a new language should be made with careful consideration and consultation with the relevant religious authorities and communities.”
I was impressed and encouraged that the machine generated text implied that the AI knows it’s limits (for now). I then noticed that my own WordPress blog software now includes an option to add AI generated paragraphs based on what has already been said. Here’s what it suggested
“This is to ensure that the translation is accurate and that the new version will be accepted by the relevant communities.
Even so, it can be argued that AI-driven translations of the Bible holds immense potential for those who are unable to access the Scriptures in their native language. It may also contribute to increased dialogue and understanding between different communities and cultures. As such, there is an argument to be made that it is worth exploring the potential of AI-driven translations of the Bible- particularly if those translations are accurate and are made with the proper consultation of religious authorities and the relevant communities.”
And so back to me again. (and I should add that I’m the bald one on the right). I agree that it is definitely worth exploring how AI can help in many areas of life, though I’d prefer the idea of AI-assisted rather than AI-driven. For decades now different computer tools have helped in various processes of linguistic analysis, Bible translation, typesetting, and distribution. (see https://software.sil.org for some of the current tools. Several new possibilities being explored at ai.sil.org )
AI tools and technology will help with some elements but don’t promise to always get things right and are not a replacement for “the proper consultation of religious authorities and the relevant communities”. Alongside tools and technology, there remains a need for time, tenacity, and tea …the slower but vital process of building relationships, trust, and understanding between real people. After all, the goal is not to get apps containing translated text into new phones, but to get transforming words into people’s hearts.
The original version of this blog was posted at brassingtons.wordpress.com which so far has been written entirely by a human with a passion for Bible Translation and Scripture Engagement.