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Roblox’s AI Chat Translator Breaks Language Barriers in Real Time

ByHuey Yee Ong

Feb 10, 2024
Roblox's AI Chat Translator Breaks Language Barriers in Real Time

Roblox’s AI Chat Translator Breaks Language Barriers in Real Time

Roblox, the immensely popular online gaming platform, has recently introduced an AI-powered chat translator that is poised to redefine the dynamics of global online interaction. This novel AI-powered chat translator is designed to eliminate the linguistic barriers that have historically constrained players’ ability to connect across different geographies. By enabling real-time, seamless communication in 16 different languages, Roblox is significantly enhancing the gaming experience for its community, which boasts a staggering 70 million daily active users from more than 180 countries. This initiative not only enriches the social interactions within the platform but also aligns with the broader vision of creating a more inclusive digital world.

How Does It Work?

Daniel Sturman, Roblox’s Chief Technology Officer, elaborated on the development of an in-house large language model (LLM), a cornerstone of this translation feature. With a base latency of merely 100 milliseconds, this model ensures instant translation of text-based messages, allowing for uninterrupted conversation flow between players, as shown in this video. Sturman vividly illustrated the potential of this technology by imagining a scenario where players, unknowingly engaging in different languages, could maintain a seamless interaction, thereby fostering an unprecedented level of global connectivity within the Roblox ecosystem.

The technical journey to this innovation was fraught with challenges, notably the need to create an efficient translation system capable of handling all 16 languages and ensuring its speed was conducive to real-time chats. The solution was a unified, transformer-based LLM that eschewed the need for 256 distinct models—one for each language pair—in favor of a single, versatile model. This approach not only streamlined the development process but also set a new benchmark in AI-driven communication tools.

Enhancing Accuracy with “Back Translation”

Training the LLM involved a sophisticated blend of public and proprietary data, supplemented by expert translation applications to refine the model’s proficiency across various languages. A particularly innovative strategy employed was “back translation,” used to enhance the accuracy of translations for less common language pairs, such as French to Thai. This method involves translating a message back into the original language and comparing it with the source text, thereby ensuring the translation’s fidelity. Additionally, a quality estimation model was implemented to prioritize the readability and comprehension of translated texts.

Human evaluators played a pivotal role in this process, not only in training the model with contemporary, trendy phrases but also in continuously updating the system to keep pace with evolving language use. This human-AI collaboration is indicative of Roblox’s commitment to creating a dynamic and responsive translation tool that can adapt to the nuances of human language.

The Future of Gaming and Communication on Roblox

The impact of this translation feature on the Roblox community has been profound, with final-stage testing indicating increased user engagement and enhanced quality of interaction. This breakthrough aligns with CEO David Baszucki’s vision of interoperability within the metaverse, particularly the seamless transfer of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and other digital assets across diverse platforms. By facilitating real-time communication across different languages, Roblox is not only bridging linguistic divides but also pioneering a new era of digital interaction that promises greater inclusivity and connectivity for users worldwide.

This ambitious endeavor by Roblox to incorporate real-time AI chat translations into its platform represents a significant milestone in online gaming and social interaction. It not only addresses the practical challenge of language barriers but also embodies the spirit of innovation and inclusivity that is central to Roblox’s mission. As the platform continues to evolve, the integration of such advanced technologies will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of digital communication and community building in the virtual realm.

Featured Image courtesy of SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.