Cross The Language Barrier With Google Chat

Speaking in tongues with Chat Bots

If you need to translate to another language and occasionally need help on a word there is a new feature in Gmail Chat that you may find helpful. You can find more details in a Googletalk blog post by Jonas Lindberg and there are more details on the blog of Rich Tehrani.

What you can do is chat to the bot that does Google translations. So for example if you want to translate from English to French, you add as one of your contacts. Then whenever you go chat with en2fr, what ever you say will be translated from English to French in the reply from the bot. If you’re a frequent user of Gmail, as I am, you may find this a very useful feature. The translation isn’t perfect but it often will provide what you’re looking for. From French to English, you chat to

At the moment the bot chats are with yourself, meaning you enter a phrase in one language and it appears in yet another. In the not-too distant future we can expect to be able to chat with anyone in our native tongue and have the content translated to our intended audience. Google?s translation bot shows us a baby step in this direction. One can imagine that soon the translation bots will sit between the two parties and allow the users to communicate in real time, each using their own language. As Duncan Riley suggests, Google Talk is getting us one step closer to the ultimate Babel Fish, as envisaged by Douglas Adams in the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.