Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of Literary Translation in the Age of AI: Striking a Balance Between Human Expertise and Machine Power

Milena Škobo, Vedran Petričević


This paper explores the evolving role of teachers and literary translators in the era of artificial intelligence and machine translation and addresses the challenges encountered in literary translation. It focuses on achieving a balance between human expertise and machine power to ensure faithful translations of literary works while preserving their inherent artistic value. The study analyses four translations of an excerpt from the short story “Lake Como” by Serbian writer Srđan Valjarević. These translations, from Serbian to English, were conducted in groups by third-year Anglistics students at the Faculty of Philology, Sinergija University in Bijeljina, whose native language is Serbian. The quality and accuracy of the translations were assessed, accompanied by detailed justifications of our preference judgments. A comparison was made between our assessments and those generated by Chat GPT-3, aiming to provide insights into the advancements made by AI in the realm of literary translation. This comprehensive evaluation of translations, encompassing both human translators and AI-powered language models (LLMs), offers a deeper understanding of the specific strengths and weaknesses exhibited by LLMs in the context of literary translation. Through this human evaluation process, we strive to shed light on the specific areas where LLM translators excel and identify the challenges they are still facing. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of AI's impact on literary translation and pave the way for future research and advancements in this area.


literary translation; machine translation; challenges of literary translation; artificial intelligence; Chat GPT-3

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