Here’s Truedic, my ChatGPT-based booth assistant for fast & easy vocab searching

OpenAI’s GPT builder is by far the greatest toy since the invention of pinball.

After Truedee, my meeting preparation assistant, I have now created Truedic, a booth assistant that helps me check unknown words or expressions while interpreting in all my working languages. Here’s how it works:

At the beginning of each session, it will ask me which languages I am working with today, and after that I just type the word(s) I am looking for and without further ado it will provide me with potentially useful information in five steps:

  1. A simple table with equivalents in all my working languages, including alternatives, sorted by (what Truedic considers) plausibility
  2. Hits from my own term database I uploaded in xls format
  3. Hits from linguee.com and https://iate.europa.eu/
  4. Definitions with source links
  5. Extracts from the news with source links

I also told Truedic to be concise in our communication, to provide information in table format, and to be tolerant to typos (i.e. also find fuzzy matches).

Here’s an example of how it works:

I find the results Truedic provides extremely useful, and my impression is that the quality has improved again with ChatGPT’s latest 4o release. But then again, never forget to use your critical mind when using information provided by AI. You can’t rely on it even it gives you information from a specific source. As Magda found out when searching for the term Rostalgie, Truedic provided definitions referring to Ostalgie, replacing the words in the definitions supposedly taken from sources like duden.de and larousse.fr. The nice thing is that I can then simply tell Truedic not to modify cited text passages and it will reply that it will not do it again in the future. But then of course it can never be trusted to do so …

My takeaways from this Truedic experience:

  • It is extremely fast and convenient, and most of the time the information provided is very much to the point. No switching between language combinations or jumping back and forth between different sources.
  • Never forget to use your critical mind and run a plausibility check in the background of your brain. The more knowledgeable you are in your languages and topics, the more you can benefit, as you will recognise mistakes more easily.
  • AI can’t be programmed like conventional software, which makes it less predictable on the one hand, but more convenient on the other. For example, it takes definitions from reliable sources without ever having been told where to look. But on the other hand it constantly “forgets” to check for matches in the database I uploaded. Working with AI is a constant process of use & improve by providing feedback.

And now, please feel free to use Truedic (you need a ChatGPT subscription) and let me know what you think of it! I especially would be delighted if non-European language speakers could test it and share their opinions.

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Update 27 May 2024:

Still busy teaching Truedic not to hallucinate …

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About the author:
Anja Rütten is a freelance conference interpreter for German (A), Spanish (B), English (C), and French (C) based in Düsseldorf, Germany. She has specialised in tec, information and terminology management since the mid-1990s and holds a PhD on information and knowledge management in conference interpreting.


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