While brainstorming for this project we immediately decided we wanted to focus on creating an educational tool, as all of our group members have found some difficulty effectively learning in our current online environments.
After further deliberation, as a group we decided to focus on making a language and translation discord bot. As children of first generation immigrants, we saw and felt how difficult it was to learn a new language, while conversing with family members across the world. Also, taking Spanish classes in school we felt there was a lack of resources that helped improve our ability outside of the classroom.
In-person instruction and interaction is especially important to learning a language. This project allows someone to practice their language skills with a bot that responds intelligently to what they say. This will allow people to both practice their skills in a new language and reduce anxiety.
Why a discord bot? - Since we have transitioned into online schooling, we have used discord as a primary place to communicate and collaborate for educational and recreational purposes. Many students use discord as their primary form of communication and we felt that incorporating our bot here would make it accessible and convenient to use.
What it does
BotLate is a discord bot with a comprehensive set of commands that allows for an interactive language learning experience. The main features are:
-Translate any phrase in 100+ languages and hear the pronunciation as well -Take a vocabulary quiz -Have an interactive conversation with a bot in any language you are trying to learn
Google Cloud Usage
We were able to combine many different google cloud products to create a unique product. We used:
-Translation API -Used to translate between all 108 languages that Google supports
-Text-to-Speech API -Generates the audio files so the bot can speak the various phrases to the user
-Creates an interactive chatbot that the user can practice their speaking skills with in any
-Natural Language API -Changes the bot’s response depending on the user’s response tone (ex. Excited vs. nervous)
Challenges we ran into
Configuring the discord bot to play audio was challenging because we had to get the proper executables linked. In addition, we had never used Google Cloud products before so learning to use those APIs was a learning experience.
Finally, we were able to make a Google DialogFlow bot. We had to learn advanced vocabulary relating to chatbots such as Intents and Entities.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This is the first hackathon for two of our members. They have had past programming experience, but this is their first time completing a hackathon project, which we are very proud of.
In addition, we were able to make an interactive bot that we can talk to and practice conversation with in other languages! This is something we had no idea we would be able to do but we’re glad we did it.
We also now have a framework made up to base future Discord bots off of just in case we have any good bot ideas in the future.
What's next for BotLate
Because it is a Discord bot, we can easily share this with other people. We plan on giving this to our high school Spanish teacher and seeing if it is useful!