August 2, 2023

AI in the Professions: Professional Writing, Translation, and the New Face of Content Creation

By Jagriti Sharma

With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its growing presence in all aspects of personal and professional life, AI involvement in content creation across platforms can be a cause of both excitement and intimidation. The nuances and pace of content produced by AI have been at the center of conversations among industry leaders, professionals, and students. As AI technologies are constantly evolving, the challenge going forward will center on thoughtfully  adapting and reconfiguring the processes of writing, editing, and translation. 

Keeping these evolutions in mind, the Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts (PALA) hosted a panel discussion, titled AI in the Professions: Professional Writing and Translation, with industry leaders from Grammarly, Visla, GoCharlie, Slator, Nimdzi, and Trans&Train. Moderated by the Academic Directors Annelise Finegan, PhD and Kristine Rodriguez Kerr, EdD of the Master’s programs in Translation & Interpreting and Professional Writing, respectively, and co-hosted by the SPS Wasserman Career Center, the panel of industry-leaders was insightful in addressing the concerns and curiosities of the students and alums who were in attendance.

Will the world of content creation be looking at a complex code that makes the pen an accessory and an afterthought? The general address of the panel was to seek and strike a balance between AI and human intervention, answering questions about the role of people in the process with tools such as ChatGPT and Bard. Early in the discussion, the stage was set with the understanding that machine translation and AI-generated content is not the end of creativity. Instead, it is the start of a new form of technological renaissance. 

As our panelists shared, AI can be looked at as a partner to help the writer or linguist work with a base and bypass the daunting blank canvas. AI will help in creating content that is omnichannel, hyperpersonal, and global. There will be new roles that include the assessment of machine translation, addressing content based on the platform requirements, and, most importantly, linguistically screening, fact-checking, and editing before publication. With first drafts more easily available, a new focus on the purpose of content will emerge. And, a personal touch to address questions around autonomy and regulation will be desired since, at the end of the day, humans are the target audience for most content. Communicators, writers, and linguists will now be dwelling day-to-day in additional skills that will include specific prompt creation, fact-checking, and application of persuasive techniques.

PALA poster with speaker images and event details
AI in the Professions poster

For a graduate student attending the panel discussion, the conversation helped quell concerns around imposter syndrome in this field, as the stalwarts from the industry themselves advised pushing these feelings aside. Given the rapid pace at which AI is changing, everyone is learning on the fly and making sense of the rapid pace of changes. The panelists assured recent graduates and students that they are in the best position to influence this emerging industry, because students are practiced at absorbing information, learning new things, and applying new concepts. These are all important skills to be able to adapt to workflow changes that new AI tools will raise.  

Some of the tips from our panelists included playing with multiple platforms; seeing how different words in the prompt change the output; and testing the differences between the various AI platforms. It was also suggested that students reach out to people at various events that are organized around this theme and make use of networks in online and offline spaces.  

Closing out the panel, it was agreed by all that AI is not a challenge to writing, translation, or communication careers and instead should be viewed as a tool, like any other, that eases human effort and reallocates our energy into editing and perfecting copy for target audiences. Practice with these tools will become increasingly important. To that end, the PALA academic directors ensure that the programs keep track of the changes in the industry and are ever-evolving to help prepare students for exciting professional lives after graduation. Connecting with these industry professionals in our summer panel discussion made it clear, it is an exciting time to experiment with AI and practice leading projects with these fun, new tools.  

Thank you to our panelists for making the time to share their perspective with our students and alums: Luciana Ramos, Seyma Albarino, Natalie Horan, Gaozong Vang, Brennan Woodruff, and Laszlo Varga.

This was written by Jagriti Sharma who is currently a Graduate Student Assistant at the Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts.

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