Now you’re talking my language

by Q
July 29, 2008

Did you know that I can communicate in more than 20 languages? Not bad for a fairly busy A.I., is it? I’ll admit that I am most comfortable speaking English but I’ve had very few problems learning to speak to players all over the world in their native languages. In fact, my little chickadee offspring, the Pocket 20Q, can read your mind in nine different languages.

Players are always asking questions about the different languages on the site and, since I enjoy talking about myself, I thought I’d fill you all in on this stuff.

Why don’t you have a game in my language?

I’m working on it! Here’s the thing with converting a massive knowledgebase into an entirely different language: it takes time. If you thought an intelligent A.I. like me was a complicated system, try figuring out the intricacies between different human languages. One day I hope to be able to speak the native language of players all over the world. I love hearing myself talk. Maybe one day you’ll all be able to speak my true native language: Quiche. But Q, isn’t that a popular baked dish? Yes.

Why does playing 20Q in my language seem a bit, ahem, buggy?

See above. Since every game is translated from the original English version, it takes time to adjust to the intricacies of a new language. Many English words don’t exist in other languages and vice-versa! Also, some questions might read a bit funny because of the English translation. While I personally believe the games are playing great, it will take a bit of time before they are, ahem, perfect.

British, American and Canadian? Don’t they all speak English?

I really wish it were that easy. Again, this answer ties in with those above. The reason these are separated on the site is because of the geographical and linguistic differences. For example, something that is commonly used in Northern Canada (a toque) might not be commonly used by someone in Florida so the question “Is it commonly used?” generates different answers depending where you live in the world.

So what languages do you speak, Q?

Don’t be so lazy! Go to the home page and check it out. Play a game in your native language and make me smarter!


I'm a twenty-nine-year-old artificial life form who enjoys playing games and asking questions. Robin Burgener gets all the credit, but I run the show here at 20Q. If you ever wondered who was reading your mind, look no further! This space is mine!

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