Google Talkabout: Merry Christmas, God Jul and 圣诞快乐

Google Talkabout: Merry Christmas, God Jul and 圣诞快乐
erry Christmas, God Jul and 圣诞快乐
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 5:30 PM

OK, I cheated. I dont really speak Chinese. But I know a bot that does, and were releasing it today together with number of other translation bots. For those not familiar with bots, a robot is a piece of software that acts as a chat contact and provides some fun or useful functionality.

If you want to try it, just add en2zh@bot.talk.google.com as a friend in Google Talk and send it a message to translate from English to Chinese. You can use it as an interpreter in your group chat, or as a pocket translator in your Google Talk client for BlackBerry.

For more languages, just add any of the 29 23 other translation bots. Theyre named using two-letter language abbreviations as “[from language]2[to language]@bot.talk.google.com”, and the supported language pairs are: ar2en, de2en, de2fr, el2en, en2ar, en2de, en2el, en2es, en2fr, en2it, en2ja, en2ko, en2nl, en2ru, en2zh, es2en, fr2de, fr2en, it2en, ja2en, ko2en, nl2en, ru2en, zh2en. So, for French to German translation, talk to fr2de@bot.talk.google.com.

For those of you into programming, why not build your own bot? Maybe a weather service or a rock/paper/scissors game. The Google Talk service uses an open protocol called XMPP, and its easy to find client libraries and code samples that will give you a flying start. For Java users, check out Ignite Realtimes Smack library. Please note that the Google Talk service enforces traffic limitations on user accounts, so if you want to support more than a few thousand Google Talk users on your bot, connect using the server-to-server protocol either by making your bot act as an XMPP server or by hosting the bot on your own XMPP server.

Jonas Lindberg
Software Engineer

Update: Our initial list of available bots included some languages that are not actually available. There are 24 bots currently available: ar2en, de2en, de2fr, el2en, en2ar, en2de, en2el, en2es, en2fr, en2it, en2ja, en2ko, en2nl, en2ru, en2zh, es2en, fr2de, fr2en, it2en, ja2en, ko2en, nl2en, ru2en, zh2en. As some have guessed, this is a 20% project, and while machine translation isnt perfect, we hope these bots can be helpful in bridging language barriers.

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