What is a chatbot?
In the move to making things faster and less labor-intensive, tech geniuses have created programs that seem to speak to you when you type a message into a chat box. For example, Dominos Pizza’s online ordering system seems to be asking you questions and guiding you to order your pizza. It all seems really real, but in truth, it’s a chatbot.
The chatbot uses keywords in the user’s message to discern what the writer is talking about. It then uses a predetermined response. This has changed how many transactions between businesses and customers happen online. Very often, customers have the same requests over and over again. The chatbot saves a human from having to repeat the questions and answers over and over again.
Chatbots and localization
The move toward using chatbots is great, but it does provide some difficulties, especially in countries that are extremely large and diverse. More than simply translating from one language to another, a chatbot, in order to sound truly natural, will need to use the local vernacular. In nations like the US, India, China, Russia, and many others, there is a regional difference in a speech that will need to be accounted for.
Some challenges that chatbot localization will face
There are a number of challenges that chatbots, especially Facebook chatbots, will face in the future. Facebook is everywhere and chatbots will struggle to make everyone feel at home rather than that they are talking to a monolithic robot programmed in Silicon Valley.
Those little symbols have become ubiquitous and are beginning to make their way even into business conversations as a shorthand for expressing emotions and thoughts. Translating emojis across borders and getting chatbots to recognize them for what they are will be an uphill climb.
In order for chatbots to really take hold in international business, they will need to move quickly toward getting local. Otherwise, they will leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and no one will want to use them.
3) Translators – Translating is an art as much as it’s a science. Teaching a machine to understand differences in languages and the nuances in each will prove challenging.
Moving from one language to another can increase the length of a message by 20-30%. This will challenge translators to find ways to compact longer language.
4) Transliteration vs. translation
It will be difficult to translate every word as some languages simply don’t have a direct translation for every word or concept. Finding a way to make the translation still sound natural will be a challenge.
Bringing sexy back
So with those challenges and the path that still needs to be cut, how are chatbots sexy? They represent a way for firms, apps, and platforms (or more precisely, their creators) to interact in a meaningful way with customers without needing to have a dedicated person on the line reading every message.
In places like social media, Facebook chatbots will allow for easy and instant interaction so that people will feel the “social” part of social media. On April 12, 2016, Facebook launched its Facebook Messenger bot system that will allow anyone to create a bot that interacts with customers instantly. For businesses, this is great since there are 900 million people each month that use Messenger. For Facebook, it gives them yet another way to become indispensable to businesses and customers.
Chatbots will make all business local. When you need assistance, want to place an order, or want to talk to your fake boyfriend, a chatbot can be at the ready with all of the answers that you need to be happy and feel like someone is listening. It’s HAL without the angry parts.