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Musings through Checkers January 28, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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checkers   I just played an electronic game of Checkers with somebody in the world. The game played to a draw, which, when offered, I accepted. What was especially intriguing was the interactive message system that allowed you to send a message to the other player.

At first, I thought I would be able to type a message of encouragement, but it turns out I had to select from forty phrases. I choose ones such as “good job” and “uh-oh” and my partner chose similar ones. Then it dawned on me that my opponent might easily have been sitting in a cyber-café in Turkey or Japan. The screen that my opponent saw only needed to be relevant to his or her own language.

So Hiroshi clicks the message, “sugoi” and I read “well played.” I click “that’s safe” and he sees “abunakanai desu.” He thinks he is playing against someone in his home country and so do I. What possibilities this poses to internationalization, at least through simple phrases.

I can envision entering a forum in which all the participants write in their native languages, a virtual Babel, but we only see our own language. I am certainly ready for that. Such technology could certainly make the world that much smaller.

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