How I'm Using ChatGPT to Learn (and Practice) Foreign Languages
ChatGPT has helped me improve my language skills like never before. Here's the approach and prompts I used.
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Since I moved to Europe, I’ve renewed my love for languages. Over the past months, I’ve been practicing the languages I speak and even started learning a new language just for fun.
Now with ChatGPT, I feel that it’s easier to learn a language because it can provide corrections with examples, high-quality translations, and a lot more!
Here’s how I’ve been using ChatGPT to learn and practice foreign languages. The first prompts listed below will help everyone regardless of their language level, while the prompts at the end will be especially useful for those at the B1, B2, and beyond.
Note: For better performance, use the prompts below with GPT-4. Also, in every prompt, feel free to replace the words within [ ] with the language you’re learning.
High-quality translations with ChatGPT: This is way better than Google Translate
Google Translate is one of those tools every language learner uses on a daily basis. However, do you know Google Translate doesn’t always provide you with the best translation?
Sometimes it translates your sentences word by word
Sometimes it understands context but provides a low-quality translation
While native speakers might still understand us if we use Google Translate, many things will be lost in translation.
Here’s the prompt I’m using to improve the quality of my translations.
Act as a language tutor. I’m going to give you a sentence in my native language [Spanish] and you have to translate it into the language I’m learning [English]. You have to provide 6 alternativate translations that convey a similar sentiment.
Please, rank the translation from phrases that have words native speakers would use in everyday conversation to words native speakers would rarely use.
The prompt works wonders. Here are some examples.
The other day I was writing an article and suddenly felt stuck because I couldn’t find the right words in English to explain how after long working sessions, my body stopped working (now it seems easy, but, believe me, it wasn’t)
In such situations, I think in Spanish the phrase I want to say and then translate it. Here’s the phrase I wanted to say.
Solia trabajar mucho hasta que mi cuerpo me traiciono
The literal translation would be “I used to work hard until my body betrayed me.” That’s actually what Google Translate suggested.
I think you could understand what I mean if you read that sentence, however, the word “betray” wasn’t exactly what I meant and it just didn’t sound like a word I’d use in that context.
I know “traicionar” literally means “betray” but thanks to the prompt above I got 6 alternatives to choose from.
Eureka! Options #1 and #2 were what I was looking for.