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Roblox breaks language barriers with AI-based real-time chat translation

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Roblox is breaking language barriers today as it launches AI-powered real-time chat translation.

Billing the move as a major leap in fostering global communication and inclusivity, Roblox said it is launching the chat translation feature in 16 languages, enabling users to seamlessly communicate in their preferred language. I have to say this is pretty impressive as AI is changing our world fast; I saw plenty of real-time translation devices and apps at CES 2024, but this is a first for gaming.

The groundbreaking technology, built on Roblox’s proprietary artificial intelligence, facilitates instant translation of text chat messages among users. Effective immediately, users worldwide can engage in conversations with fellow community members in their native languages.

For instance, a user in Korea can type a message in Korean, and an English-speaking user will see it in English, while a German-speaking user simultaneously reads and responds in German.

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“Our custom large language model is so fast we’re able to do real-time translations from any one of 16 languages to any of the others as people type to help them connect in real time, no matter where they’re from,” said Daniel Sturman, CTO at Roblox, in a statement. “We started using AI to translate in-experience content at scale, so our community developers can engage more users globally. Now, thanks to our new real-time AI chat translations, we’ve made something possible on Roblox that isn’t even possible in the physical world—enabling people to overcome language barriers and seamlessly communicate with one another in immersive 3D experiences. In the future, we envision every part of a user experience on Roblox to be fully translated into their native language, including offering AI-powered voice translation.”

For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, Roblox had over 70 million users connecting and communicating daily, forming approximately 19.7 million new friendships daily. Users from 180 countries exchange a staggering 2.4 billion chat messages each day, totaling 904 billion in twelve months. With one in three in-experience chat messages requiring translation, the addition of real-time AI chat translations addresses a significant need within Roblox’s diverse user base.

Roblox translates in real time.Roblox translates chat in real time.

“As we continue to grow our user base globally, we seek to make Roblox not only easily accessible, but also truly localized, offering everything from local payment options to culturally relevant content and avatars, and, of course, in-experience content and chat translation,” said Zhen Fang, head of international at Roblox. “Our early experiments with this new automated chat translation technology showed a very positive impact on time spent, chat engagement, and session quality, so we are very excited to roll it out to further enhance and expand our community’s daily communication. The world feels a little bit smaller when we enable features like these at global scale.”

The feature aligns with Roblox’s broader strategy of providing localized experiences, including payment options, content, avatars, and now, in-experience chat translation.

Automatic chat translation is now available in all experiences leveraging TextChatService, Roblox’s chat engine.

For further details on the AI-powered chat translation rollout, users can refer to Roblox’s official blog here. As Roblox continues to evolve, the introduction of this feature marks a significant step toward its vision of creating a world that is safe, civil, and optimistic through immersive online experiences.

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