Friday, February 15, 2008

Windows Live Messenger Translation Bot

Microsoft Research Machine Translation team has come out with an IM Translation Bot. MTBot prototype project which made it possible to combine machine translation technology with instant messaging. Great work!!

This will help millions of Windows Live Messenger users to make use of this IM Bot which will act as a human translator, participating in conferences and translating messages as they are sent by all parties.

So how to use this Windows Live Messenger Translation Bot?
Just add to your contact list, and once you're accepted send it one of the following messages:

- Hello: activates the bot to translate from English to any of the available languages (you will be prompted to select one)
- Hallo: activates the bot to translate from German to either English or French (you will be prompted to inform your option)
- Oi: activates the bot to translate from Portuguese to English (no other language is available)
- 你好: activates the bot to translate from Chinese Simplified to English (no other language is available)
- こんにちは: activates the bot to translate from Japanese to English (no other language is available)

So once you add it to your contacts, wait for its status change to Online. Then send a 'Hello' to bot, to start your conversation with the Translation Bot. It gives you list of languages you want the translation and you have to enter say for example 'ja' for Japanese. After that the Bot will tell to invite your friend to join the conversation who wants this translation. So from this point on everything I type gets translated to Japanese and whatever friend types will be translated from Japanese to English.

So just to try it, I thought why not invite another Bot, Wilma. WiLMA - Windows Live Messenger concierge
Ok, she wont type in Japanese , I just tried to send the conversation in Japanese to Wilma.

Another use pointed by the MSR-MT is "Another typical use is as portable translator: using Messenger from any Smartphone a user can translate simple sentences when traveling to other countries. ". Yes, it will be very useful .

Also keep in mind that this is experimental and there is a possibility the bot might be offline from time to time. Just give it a try now, and post your feedback & suggestions on the MSR-MT site.

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