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How one mobile game company created a universal translator

Machine Zone's Game of War: Fire Age delivers for a global audience on iOS, and has come up with an interesting solution to the language barrier -- which even takes into account chat speak and slang.
Machine Zone's Game of War: Fire Age delivers for a global audience on iOS, and has come up with an interesting solution to the language barrier -- which even takes into account chat speak and slang. Speaking with Polygon, Machine Zone explained that Game of War parses submitted text through a system that, first, translates the message from its native language into more normalized speech, then translates that into the destination language. "Like ASAP, you might know what that means, but not someone who speaks Arabic. We transform that to 'as soon as possible,' in microseconds," said Gabe Leydon, Machine Zone's co-founder and CEO. "It's a full matrix, so it translates to all languages." Game of War's translation system currently delivers into 33 languages and claims to translate 1,000 messages within a second. As a side system, players who point out incorrect translations and provide corrections can earn in-game rewards -- and after the same corrections are made a sufficient number of times, the system's database will update itself with the new one. If Machine Zone's Transformer (as it's called) is as elegant as its CEO describes, it's a pretty notable solution to international playerbases over unified servers -- or even for simply back-translating net slang and acronyms into more easily parsed speech. "We built it to solve the single world problem [of Game of War] and it just ended up being something that could potentially solve chat," Leydon said. "When we showed it to social companies in San Francisco, they [said], 'Stop making games.'"

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