Learning new languages has become a common practice in today's society, with dedicated academic classes, professional language teachers and applications seeking to teach to understand.
However, despite all these resources, there are countless stories of people giving up languages that they spend years studying. They forget so much, that they barely speak at a child's level.
We believe that in order for language teaching to be successful, people must engage in conversations in order to keep the language alive and to keep their minds racing through their vocabulary. Thus, Botlingual was born.
What it does
Botlingual is a web application where two people can anonymously connect online via messaging in order to converse and practice their language. The conversation is recorded, and once it's over, the user is evaluated on statistics such as spelling and grammar and word frequency. They are then recommended new words that they can use, and their spelling/grammar is corrected for future reference.
On the user's profile page, they can see graphs and statistics, as well as all past records. By quantifying these linguistic statistics, our users can have a clear path of improvement over each conversation.
This information will be useful to students, teachers, parents, and businesses, primarily those who have international ties. The idea behind Botlingual is that once a user gets a preliminary understanding of the language (from one of the mediums explained in the section above)
How we built it
We used ReactJS with HTML and CSS for the front-end. The back-end was created using NodeJS. We used Firebase's Realtime Database to store statistics and chat logs, Google Authentication for signing in and Google's Natural Language API to detect grammar and syntax.
Challenges we ran into
It was our first time working together at a hackathon, and in our team of 2, one of us sort of knew front-end and one of us sort of knew backend. Github commits were challenging to coordinate, and we each had struggles with our own frameworks since we only had a bit of experience beforehand.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud that we made a working application with just the two of us, and that we got to sleep a decent amount along the way as well as enjoy this amazing event!
What we learned
We learned the importance of communicating our work to each other, as well as ensuring that one person's change won't break the other person's work. We learned a bit more about how full-stack development works, as well as Google Cloud API.
What's next for Botlingual
We would like to expand Botlingual to a voice assistant such a Google Home, and train it to recognize strong and poor linguistic accents. We would also like to create a chatbot that would have conversations in various languages, essentially simulating a person so that the success of the app wouldn't be completely reliant on someone else.