Automatic Translation: Full Platform Rollout!

Hey Developers,

Over the last couple years, we have been working hard on a full suite of tools geared towards automatically sourcing and translating content in addition to existing manual translations. We have undertaken these efforts not only to make localization support extremely easy for our developer community, but also to help further Roblox’s international vision towards reaching & unifying audiences around the world!

So, to that end, in the coming week, we will be launching automatic translation support for games across the platform as a default experience. This means that, on a rolling basis, we will be enabling translation support for games in 8 languages on behalf of our developers.

Automatic Translation Test Results: Playtime Improvements

In order to validate that enabling translation support by default was the right move for our community, we ran a platform-wide test to see the impact that automatic translations have on our games. We tested on hundreds of games across multiple languages and, after several months of rigorous testing, we saw a positive impact on both engagement and retention, especially for new players!

We are extremely happy with these results and will begin rolling this out to games. It is a huge step forward in our Roblox vision of creating a global platform that unifies audiences around the world with content that will resonate with players that come from different language backgrounds and demographics!

FAQs

What languages are we enabling?
  • We will be moving forward with enabling automatic translations for Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Russian.
  • At the end of this test, we did not have enough data in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese or Indonesian to move forward yet so we are still testing.
  • Stay tuned for more updates on these languages and others in the future!

How will I know if this has been enabled in my game?
  • When this is enabled for your game, we will be turning on the following:
    • Automatic Text Capture setting to ON
    • Use Translated Content setting to ON
    • Adding all 8 languages (if not added already) and Automatic Translation setting to ON for everyone
    • Automatic Translation quota will begin to be used

What content will be automatically translated?
  • We will only be translating in-game string content.

Will this impact any of my manually added translations?
  • No! Automatic translations will always be additive so we will never override any human translations that you have in place and will only translate any untranslated entries.

How does this impact translators?

Translators are, and will always be, a valuable part of our Roblox ecosystem. Their ability to provide contextual translations often yields higher quality results than an automated system. That being said, we know that not every developer has the luxury of outsourcing and paying translators for their services. To that end, we want to provide built-in product functionality so all developers can reach global players. If you are a developer that has the ability to hire a translator for your game, we encourage you to continue to do so. We previously built features specifically for human translator workflows (Web Translator Portal, translator contribution reports, etc) and will continue to keep them in mind as we develop our translation services going forward.

What’s Next?

Our team is working hard to continue to push the needle on translation technology. We are currently focused on initiatives to improve translation quality and optimize our automatic scraping processes. Additionally, we want to continuously add more languages to support across the platform and expand that support beyond games to other forms of content.

We would like to thank all of you for joining us in these efforts and are looking forward to sharing more on this front in the future!

246 Likes

This topic was automatically opened after 11 minutes.

How does this deal with, as an example, TextLabels that are labelled “You have 50 Coins”? Does the “50” get preserved while the rest of the sentence gets translated?

37 Likes

Thank you for this. Knowing from the post that this was in development for years is interesting, and I hope that this feature progressively improves. I am glad to see the year start of strong for Roblox with some new and incredible feature.

Just out of curiosity, could you specify about what were the positive results of your platform-wide test? I think it would be helpful to know more about this data and how this feature performed in multiple cases and where didn’t perform as well.

I was also considering the possibility of incorrect translations, which are not surprising, but I was specifically worried about a case where the incorrect translation is inappropriate. My question: Is the filtering system used for other languages going to filter out content before translation or after? Maybe it will detect something inappropriate and look for a better translation.

19 Likes

What’s the quality of translations like? I’m worried that automatic, computer-generated, inaccuracies will cause a bad player experience. Especially if it ends up generating something inappropriate (a notorious problem for services like Google Translate).

Is there a list of games that have participated in these tests so that we can review the results of the automatic translations ourselves?

60 Likes

Now that this feature is officially rolling out, does that mean the forced experiment will now be turned off for the games that it was being tested on?

I have had manual translations on my games Roblox High School 2 and Super Striker League for quite some time and they worked perfectly, but then the experiment started forcibly translating every single TextLabel in my game, even though I had automatic text capture specifically turned off, and even though I already had translated content for those languages. This really messed things up as it’s been auto-translating players’ usernames and other content which was never meant to be translated. Luckily Super Striker League was removed from the experiment, but RHS2 has still been suffering with these auto-translations messing with my manual translations. I hope that Roblox will respect these settings and not attempt to auto-scrape all of the game’s TextLabels when we’ve specifically turned this feature off. I do not need the auto-scraping feature as I manually add the necessary strings to the table.

42 Likes

As I have previously stated, I am not a fan of this. Mainly because of how inaccurate machine translations are.

So by the wording of this, it’s going to be forced onto us by the platform?

I hope that’s the case this time. I’ve heard Russian and Spanish translators noticing that automatic translations were overriding the manual ones and in some cases, really damaged the integrity of the translations.

31 Likes

That is surely a nice update but what about translators? Are they all just going to lose their job now?

15 Likes

Ditto. I don’t understand why they would give us these options but end up just forcing them anyway?

27 Likes

Exactly what I was thinking. This also worries me because as a Translator I know how a badly translated game can damage your game for the localized users and as far as I am concerned, Roblox didn’t offer any compensation for people who they forced the tests onto.

21 Likes

I hope this is not mandatory.

I wonder if people here still don’t know that AI is not good at handling context. There is also the issue with dialects. Some word in Spanish might seem normal in my heritage, but could possibly be a bad word in another dialect.

But hey, human translators are still going to thrive. :slight_smile:

I remember when a translator got blamed by a community for horrible translations when it was the machine the team decided to use in more favor than that translator.

Some native speakers have switched to a 2nd language to avoid the cringe levels they see from machine translation in the games they like.

15 Likes

I might be asking the obvious here, but what about concatenated/random strings? Is text capture going to be on the fly?

Example:

local CurrencyTable = {"Coins", "Stars", "Points"}
local TextLabel = workspace.Screen.SurfaceGui.TextLabel
TextLabel.Text = "You earned 500 "..CurrencyTable[math.random(1,#CurrencyTable)].." for completing the mission!"

-- Possible Output: "You earned 500 Coins for completing the mission!"

(Answered) Will instances like this still be translated?

(Answered) What if we concatenate with a number, say, ### Coins surely it can’t add thousands upon thousands of different entries into a table, will it?

3 Likes

Yes. It just adds all variations of it to the table.

Edit:

Yes it also will. Any sort of text on UI will be translated.

6 Likes

No, because as of right now there is only so much a machine can do as far as translation goes. Manual translation from a person who can speak a language fluently is still preferable. This update makes Roblox more accessible in other languages but you cannot expect it to be perfectly accurate.

4 Likes

Will this replace Translators in the future? I hope not.

Anyway, this is a good update for those who can’t hire Translators.

I translate 4 languages, but this update takes 2 languages I translate.

Koneko mentioned me down below :slight_smile:

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Whatever will happen to transators?
:thinking:
I think this is a great feature. Maybe this can be expanded for all games?

5 Likes

They will suck, and you can be pretty much sure about that. You can still translate it normally though. But I just don’t like this auto-translation either. It’s more about the profit of Roblox / Roblox Games, and it can be worse of an experience, a lot of games I see out there, have SUPER bad translations. And AUTO translation is just worse. Another thing, sometimes no translation is better than a bad translation.

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What’s this quota you speak of? Will there be a limited number of translations possible?

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There isn’t a single program in the world that has translation quality on par with manual translation as translation technology hasn’t developed enough to replace translators. I highly doubt Roblox will be the first one to do so, and translators will still be as relevant as ever. Roblox’s translation quality is terrible and you should never pick automatic translations over actual translators. In fact:

Relying on an inaccurate program is not only a worse alternative but can also ruin a game. Developers should always pick translators over a clearly flawed algorithm.

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I don’t think it’s gonna be a big issue for translators. I’m not sure on that. It doesn’t seem like auto-translation will be ever better. I messed around using google translator and I understand both Portuguese and English, and it was so bad. I DID not publish those changes.

6 Likes