AI for translation

Information security

When you use AI translation tools, your text is sent to an external party for processing and storage. This means that you do not have full control over how the information will be handled. Therefore, texts containing personal data or other sensitive information should not be translated using AI tools.

Read more about the processing of personal data (GDPR)

Areas of use and target audiences

Before you decide to use AI for translation, consider the following questions: What will the text be used for and who is the target audience?

Internal audience

If the text is intended for internal communication and aims to inform colleagues, AI can be an effective tool for quickly producing a text that is good enough.

External audience

For texts aimed at an external audience, it is important to ensure that what is communicated is correct, clear, and representative of the university. Here, AI can still be useful, but it requires careful scrutiny by a human in several ways, such as to ensure the consistent use of the official translations of university organisational units and job titles.

Rules, procedures, and working methods

If the text concerns rules, procedures, or working methods at the university, or is about, for example, decisions, course syllabi or policy documents, it should be carefully reviewed to ensure that it is consistent with similar documents both within and outside the university. AI can find it difficult to handle this kind of complexity, and it may be wise to turn to Communications Office for help. Contact the Communications Office for support with such translation matters.

Regardless of the area of use, AI-generated texts must always be reviewed before they are disseminated or published.

When is AI translation appropriate?

AI translation can be useful:

  • To get a quick overview of the content of a text in a foreign language.
  • To give the target audience a general idea of the content of a text.
  • As a support and inspiration when you translate or write a text yourself.
  • To create a first draft that you can then edit.
  • For simpler texts for internal use, such as an email sent to just a few people.

Limitations of AI translation

AI has its limitations, including in the areas of:

  • Use of terms and concepts that are specific to higher education, the Swedish higher education sector, technical terms, etc.
  • Communication of cultural and linguistic nuances.
  • Creative elements, idiomatic expressions, irony, or humor.
  • Character limitations and maintaining layout.
  • Complex topics can be difficult to translate correctly.
  • Consistency.

While an AI translation may look grammatically correct, the language can be stilted and unnatural. Deeper nuances and cultural references can also be missing or misunderstood.

Quality assurance

All AI-generated texts should be reviewed and edited before publication. Assessing the quality of the translation requires knowledge of both the subject and the languages in question. If you don't have a command of the target language, avoid using AI for translation.

Optimisation of prompts

To improve AI translations, provide clear and detailed instructions (known as prompts) to the tool. You can experiment with different instructions to see what works best, such as "use British spelling." Keep in mind that AI can sometimes "hallucinate" and create inaccurate content.

Available tools

There is a translation function in Office 365, particularly useful in Word and Outlook, that is easy to use. Some web browsers also have built-in translation functionality. There are both free and paid versions of AI tools such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, DeepL, and Google Gemini. Many of these AI tools are not specifically designed for translation and therefore may have limitations. The Communications Office has access to professional translation tools that may be more suitable.

Support from the Communications Office 

The Communications Office has a central resource for translation and questions about translation. In some cases, the Communications Office can translate your text from Swedish to English or coordinate the translation process with contracted suppliers.

Read more about which texts are to be translated and our translation guidelines.

Contact the Communications Office for support with translation.

Important tips when using AI for translation!

  • Review and edit AI-translated texts to ensure their quality. AI is a tool that works best in combination with human translation and review.
  • Consider information security.
  • Use the university's Swedish-English Lexicon when relevant to ensure your text is using correct translations of, for example, university job titles and organisational units. 
  • Follow the university's English language recommendations when relevant. They state, among other things, that British spelling is to be used for official documents and general communication.