09:04 | 20.07.16 | News | exclusive 8655

The first Telegram Emoji dictionary for Armenian is launched on World Emoji Day

In celebration of World Emoji Day, July 17 marks the official release of the first Telegram dictionary between Emoji and Armenian.

Emojis are the little pictures sweeping the world that you can send in messages right from the keyboard of your phone. The emoji (Face with Tears of Joy) was even named the Oxford Dictionary “Word of the Year” for 2015.

Until now, however, there has been no easy way for Armenian speakers to find the emojis they need.

EmojiWorldBot founders informed Itel.am that it is a free tool that is built for the popular Telegram instant messaging platform, for users to ask for the emojis that are tagged with terms in more than 70 languages. Type in “կապիկ” in Armenian, and the bot will fetch  for you to use in your texts and chats.

“It looks very simple,” says Federico Sangati, who programmed the application in the Netherlands, “but there is a lot of very complicated design activity to make a system that works well for so many languages.”

An international team worked together via Telegram to create the bot. They realized early on that their initial language data, from the Unicode Consortium that decides what emojis will be approved for telephone and computer operating systems, would need to be improved and expanded. So, they designed fun games that bot users can play, which will result in more and better language information. The first game, for players to identify new tags for an emoji, such as labeling with “egg”, is being launched in the version released for World Emoji Day.

“Right now, translation among languages usually gets mixed up with English as the middleman. As links are verified by the players, the bot will become increasingly intelligent, enabling Armenian speakers to translate accurately to any language they choose,” says Martin Benjamin, the director of the Kamusi Project Global Online Living Dictionary at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, who designed the complex underlying data model.

Find out the instructions in the video below.

Johanna Monti, a professor of foreign language teaching at “L’Orientale” University of Naples specialized in machine translation, points out that no translation tools exist between most language pairs. “For World Emoji Day, we are opening the platform to 50 more languages from around the world,” she explains. “The emoji bot will be the first effective technology for communicating among speakers of more than 120 languages.”

Adds Francesca Chiusaroli, professor of linguistics at Italy’s University of Macerata, and a creator of the Emojitalianobot that inspired the multilingual project, “People have been using images to tell stories since the time of the cave paintings. Writing developed from pictures, morphing from hieroglyphs and ideograms to letters and alphabets. Now the world is going back to pictures for some basic communications, using emojis to bring together people across borders and across languages.”

The programmer who implemented the data structure, Sina Mansour, agrees. “Our tool makes it easier for people to speak together in a friendly universal language. It tells the same message to someone whether they speak Arabic or Hebrew. As a Persian speaker living in Iran, I am happy that I can now use EmojiWorldBot to talk with people all over the world for the first time, including speakers of Armenian.”

“The next step is for the public to use the bot and help make it better,” says Benjamin. “The more people who play the games, the more accurate translations we can offer them between Armenian and any other language. And, we think everyone will have fun using the bot to find and share their emojis and their words.”

A free account from Telegram is all that is needed to use the bot. Telegram can be installed as an app on any device, or run right from a web browser. Use the Contacts search box to find and add emojiworldbot, and type /start to get going. Or, go straight here  and follow the instructions.