How to Be Creative When AI Is Involved

Blog How to Be Creative When AI Is Involved
21st December, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived. It’s part of our lives from the moment we wake up until we turn off the light at night. In recent years, it’s made an appearance in the world of translation with the development of Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. Does this mean translators and post-editors are going to become redundant? Or, is there room for a collaboration between creative AI and post-editors that delivers even better texts? At greatcontent, we think so. Our linguists successfully combine creative AI with skilled post-editing to produce exactly what our clients want.

Creative AI – is it possible?

What is AI? Is it really creative?

Artificial intelligence works by analysing unimaginable volumes of data and turning this data into useful information (obviously some clever techie people have created the algorithms to do this). If you think you’ve escaped AI in your day to day, ask yourself, do you:

  • Unlock your phone with Face ID? Apple reckons there’s a one in a million chance of the algorithm getting it wrong!
  • Use social media? Search for something once on Google and, mysteriously, your social media fills up with related content.
  • Use search engines? AI scans the entire internet universe and finds a result (most of the time).
  • Watch Netflix? It’s amazing how spot on the suggestions are!

Everyone sees the world in different ways, rearranging information to create their own reality. Writing a novel, creating content, or translating texts, uses a writer’s own knowledge and experience. AI, however, can analyse the world to an even greater depth and considerably much faster than any human brain can. But, can it be creative and if so, does this mean writers and translators will no longer be needed?

Creative AI translates by analysing hundreds of examples, pinpointing:

  • syntax
  • word-choice
  • punctuation
  • theme
  • context
  • narrative techniques and more

It then turns this knowledge into rules. But, creative AI isn’t actually creating anything new – it’s rearranging existing information into new patterns that depend on context and situation.

Creative AI in the world of content translation?

When businesses need to say something over and over again with just minor variations, such as translating product descriptions, using AI is quicker and more cost-effective than paying a translator. This is where CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools such as Memsource come into their own. They can do the repetitive and time-consuming work.

But is this enough? No matter how efficient AI is, it can never match the empathy and sheer creativity of experienced translators. For the foreseeable future, AI is no match for the greatcontent team of talented post-editors. Memsource delivers the translation and post-editors focus on making sure every translated text is rich in context and content.

The impact of AI on cognitive processes

There are concerns that relying on CAT tools impacts negatively on cognitive abilities. Letting AI act as memory and imagination could undermine the efficiency of our own. While production might rise there’s a danger that if writers make less use of their own memory and creativity then the breadth and depth of translated texts will reduce. Linguists, and particularly post-editors, need to find ways of boosting their creativity while making profitable use of AI.

Making AI work for you in a creative way

Re-segment and rephrase

  • Segmentation: CAT tools such as Memsource segment text into often arbitrary chunks. When a post-editor works segment by segment, creativity is constrained. Make use of the Memsource feature that lets segments be split or joined to achieve a more fluent and natural result.
  • Paraphrasing: The translated segment might not always be the best way of saying something. Sometimes the grammatical and vocabulary constraints of the target text can make the CAT result seem artificial. To deliver a crystal-clear transcreation, go back to the source text and rephrase it in your mind.

Back to basics – the art of writing

It’s too easy as a post-editor to spend a whole day in front of the screen. Even when taking a break, chances are you’re checking social media. Research suggests, however, that writing with pen and paper for just a few minutes every day actually boosts creativity. A daily to-do list or journal are good starts but try:

  • Describing an everyday object in great detail (vary your writing style – formal, colloquial, flowery, technical …)
  • Taking a passage of text from a book, magazine or newspaper and rewriting it in a different tone and style

Upgrade your vocabulary store

Your vocabulary is your biggest tool for working successfully alongside creative AI. Read books in the target language and note down expressions and vocabulary that catch your eye. The greater your vocabulary store, the more fluent (and enjoyable) your target texts will be. 

To sum up, creative AI is today’s reality and should be used to do the mundane work of repetitive translating. This frees up post-editors to turn the result into accurate readable copy. Contact greatcontent to see how our team of talented post-editors make successful use of creative AI.

Text: Leonie Yeates
Image: Markus Spiske on

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