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Virtual Babel: Towards Context-Aware Machine Translation in Virtual Worlds



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Virtual Babel Towards Context Aware Machine Translation in Virtual Worlds Ying Zhang and Nguyen Bach Carnegie Mellon University 23 S Akron Rd Moffett Field CA joy nbach cs cmu edu Abstract In this paper we describe our ongoing research project of Virtual Babel a contextaware machine translation system for Second Life one of the most popular virtual worlds We augment the Second Life viewer to intercept the incoming outgoing chat messages and reroute the message to a statistical machine translation server The returned translations are appended to the original text message to help users to understand the foreign language Virtual Babel provides a platform to study cross lingual conversations facilitated by machine translation in virtual worlds and we observe interesting phenomena that are not present in document translations Virtual Babel is aware of the non verbal context of the conversation Language model and translation models are trained from collected conversations and are used to generate translations according to observed non verbal context of the conversation 1 Introduction Virtual world is fast becoming a favorite venue for online learning collaborating and networking Just as the real world users in the virtual world come from different background and speak different languages Even if some users know more than one languages it is still more natural for them to use their native languages to communicate Thus the language barrier hinders the communication in the virtual world just as it does in the real world In recent years machine translation MT technologies have been greatly improved In particular phrase based statistical machine translation systems Och et al 1999 Koehn et al 2003 have advanced to a state that the translation quality for certain domains e g broadcasting news and certain language pairs e g Spanish English is acceptable to users The publicly available translation services such as the Google Translation API make it possible to develop translation



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