Everyone knows about the 20% project concept at Google. Employees devote 20% of their time in whatever project they might like. Many Google services we use on a daily basis are results of these 20% projects.
Back in December 2007, Google launched another one of it 20% projects – Google talk translation bots. You can add these bots to your Google talk friends list just like you add any other person. Now, whenever you send them some text in one language, they will immediately reply to you with the translation of that text in another language.
For example, if you want to convert from English to French, add email@example.com to your friends’ list. Then send some text in English. The bot will send the French translation of the text as a reply. This is instant. You do not need to open translate.google.com and type in your text.
The service was originally launched with 24 bots namely: ar2en, de2en, de2fr, el2en, en2ar, en2de, en2el, en2es, en2fr, en2it, en2ja, en2ko, en2nl, en2ru, en2zh, es2en, fr2de, fr2en, it2en, ja2en, ko2en, nl2en, ru2en, zh2en. The language code list reference can be found here.
Recently, Google added the en2hi bot to this list. This makes translation from English to Hindi extremely simple and intuitive. Just add firstname.lastname@example.org to your Google Talk Friend’s list. Now whenever you will send this bot “Hello, how are you?”, it will reply with ““. Cool eh?
And the bot is intelligent enough not to convert any non Hindi words. For example sending “blog post” will give you “” and not some weird translation of the phrase.
This kind of technology has many uses. For instance, if you want to chat with someone who does not know English but knows French, you can add that person, and the bots email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org in a group chat (available only in Google Talk Gadget and Gmail chat). Now whenever you type anything in English, the en2fr bot will convert it to French. Whenever your friend will type something in French, it will be converted to English by the fr2en bot.
In future, Google might provide an option to specify the bot you want to use to chat with a friend. Say you have a Korean friend who does not understand English. Neither do you understand Korean. When you start a chat with this friend, you can specify that you want to use en2ko & ko2en bots for this conversation. Now whatever message you type in English will be first translated to Korean by the en2ko bot and then displayed in your friend’s chat window. Similarly, whatever he types in Korean is first converted to English and then displayed in your chat window.
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