Translate Code into Different Languages with ChatGPT

Codecademy Team
Learn how to translate code using ChatGPT

Introduction

Translating code from one programming language to a different one is a necessary task. This can be because you stumble upon code in a different programming language or need to translate a codebase from one language to another. Luckily, ChatGPT is available to help you translate your code into another programming language!

In this article, we will walk through an example on using ChatGPT to translate Python code to Java code. We will use the famous Factorial algorithm as our source code. We will set the context for the ChatGPT, provide it our code to translate, and lastly, ask ChatGPT to perform the code translation.

As we use ChatGPT to translate code, let’s remember that ChatGPT may hallucinate. We should be cautious and verify the translated code and its output provide the intended result.

Translate Python Code Using ChatGPT

Let’s iterate through the list of requests and deliverables using ChatGPT:

  1. We’ll narrow ChatGPT’s scope by telling it that we want to translate code from Python to Java
  2. We’ll provide the Python code
  3. We’ll request a thorough code description from ChatGPT to ensure that it matches our Python code

The example in this tutorial will be short, specifically, a single function. Because of this, we will be able to provide the entirety of the source code to ChatGPT at one time; however, it is likely that most of the code you translate will be contained within multiple functions, classes, and even across multiple files. In these cases, it is best to translate objects consistent with the object-oriented programming style, ultimately leading to better translation results.

Let’s begin by setting the context for ChatGPT to translate Python code to Java.

Image of Prompt for ChatGPT to set context for translating code

Image of Response for ChatGPT responding to context set

We will now provide the code for ChatGPT to translate from Python to Java.

Image of Prompt to provide Python code to ChatGPT

Image of Response from ChatGPT providing the translated Java code

Although it describes the Factorial class briefly, it doesn’t provide a thorough explanation of the code. Let’s request an in-depth description of the codebase.

Image of Prompt for ChatGPT to provide explanation of the translated java code

Image one of three ChatGPT responses providing ChatGPT explanation of the translated java code

Image two of three ChatGPT responses providing ChatGPT explanation of the translated java code

Image three of three ChatGPT responses providing ChatGPT explanation of the translated java code

ChatGPT provided a line-by-line analysis of the code translation from Python to Java. Although it may be difficult, we still need to try and make sure it is correct. For example, do we need a Factorial class and a factorial() function? In Java’s case, yes. You cannot run a function without a class container.

Great work! We were able to properly set the context for ChatGPT, provide the Factorial codebase so ChatGPT could translate from Python to Java, and informed ChatGPT to provide context relative to the new unknown Java code.

Although we won’t create unit tests in this article, it is best practice to create unit tests for your translated code. This gives you an avenue to test your translated code in practive environment. If you are interested in reading more about how to use Generative AI to create unit tests, please check out our guide on creating unit tests using ChatGPT.

Conclusion

Translating code can be a difficult experience, especially if we are unfamiliar with the programming language we are translating to. Fortunately, ChatGPT can assist with this process for most programming languages, especially the common ones.

In this article, we used ChatGPT to translate code from Python to Java. We first set the context, ensuring that ChatGPT was aware of the upcoming translation. Next, we provided the Python code to ChatGPT and it translated it to Java. Lastly, we requested a deeper explanation of the code provided, in case we needed clarity into the Java code provided.

If you are interested in reading more about how Generative AI can be applied in your daily life, please check out our AI Catalog of articles!