Using AI as a language aid

Last changed: 17 June 2024

Translation is one of the areas in which the quality of the results achieved by artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly improving. Nevertheless, there are certain things you need to keep in mind if you use AI to translate a text. AI texts must always be reviewed before they are published or distributed.

The quality of AI translation may suffice for an internal, limited target audience – for example in internal newsletters and other information pieces.

There are stricter criteria for internal governing documents as well as information about rights and responsibilities. These texts must be in line with similar texts or documents created both nationally and at SLU, for example, terminology needs to be correct and consistent. Existing AI tools cannot guarantee accurate results, meaning you must be prepared to spend enough time reviewing the translation and assuring its quality. Or enlist the services of a professional translator - AI is a tool best used together with a professional translator. Contact the language team at the Vice-Chancellor's Office for help and information. 

Stricter criteria are also in place for texts aimed at external audiences. Not only do these texts need to be clear and correct, they must also reflect the image of SLU we want to portray. Using AI may still be good enough, however this will place considerably higher requirements on the person reviewing the text.

Information security

Texts processed by an AI service are transferred to an external party and processed in a way SLU cannot control. Therefore, texts containing personal data or other sensitive information must not be translated using AI or any other form of machine translation service.

Using AI for translation

When is AI suitable for translation?

  • To obtain an idea of the content of a text in another language.

  • For simple texts intended for internal use, such as emails with a small distribution list.

  • To create a draft that you then review and rework.

What limitations are there?

  • An AI will not know SLU-specific terms.

  • An AI will not know basic stylistic rules, such as when to use capital letters.

  • The language used may be stilted and feel unnatural.

  • Linguistically complex sentences – such as those with long subordinate clauses or sentence breaks – are often translated incorrectly.

Using AI for language revision

You can also use AI to revise a text. The quality of the results will depend on things such as what you ask it to do.

Punctuation and grammar. AI will often be able to find grammatical errors and suggest improvements, as long as the text is concise and the AI tool does not need to interpret the text in its own way. This works much better for English than Swedish, as the majority of AI services currently learn from English-language texts.

Style and tone. AI can provide you with good suggestions for the style and tone you are looking for. However, it will need clear instructions. Try to use a tool that specialises in the type of text you are writing.

Terminology. Do not use AI to check terminology. AI does not usually know which terminology is correct, and it often fails to use the same terms consistently in a text.

Give clear instructions

To increase the quality of AI translations, you need to give clear instructions. Plain and detailed prompts (instructions) often generate the best results. Experiment! Things your instructions should contain include a description of the target audience, the tone (formal/simple/captivating, etc.), and whether certain terms need to be used.

Assure the text's quality

  • If you do use AI to translate a text, the result must always be reviewed before publishing or distributing. You need to compare the original text with the translation and not just read through the translation.

  • To be able to determine the quality of the translation, you must have good knowledge of the subject and both languages being used.

  • Do not use AI to translate into languages you do not understand.

  • It is a good idea to add a disclaimer to a document translated with AI. Consider ‘AI-translated text. May include errors’.

What tools are available and how can you use them?

There are both free and subscription versions of AI tools such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini, all of which are easy to use. However, they have not been developed specifically for translation, meaning they are not optimal tools for this task. They can be used as a complement to translation, but remember that the text must always be reviewed before it is distributed or published.



  • Information security is essential – never enter texts with sensitive content or personal data into AI tools.

  • Consistent and correct use of SLU terminology is just one area where AI experiences problems.

  • Always review texts translated by AI – this is crucial to the quality of the text.

  • Shorter texts can often be translated in-house – contact the language team at the Vice-Chancellor's Office.