Cyrano by Unbabel – API that makes your bot multilingual

Your bot can give you weather predictions, recite your schedule from the top of his head and even tell you a pretty good joke. But there is something I bet it can’t do – speak different languages. Ever since Mark Zuckerberg presented Facebook chat bots during annual F8 developer event in April this year, they have been all the rage. Had he launched Facebook’s M bot worldwide, he would discover that 75% of the world wouldn’t understand it (well, he probably knew that). Language barrier is a problem we understand very well at Unbabel, that’s why we created Cyrano API. How does it work? It’s easy on the outside (just go here and say „Hi” in the language of your choosing), a little bit more complex on the inside (where both our AI and community of 40k editors get to action), but the most important thing is that in few easy step you can make your bot speak with people from around the world in their native languages.

Customer Service has been moving from more traditional channels to social media for a while now. Reaching out to a brand through Twitter or Facebook seems like a great solution when you want your problem to be solved fast. In reality, on the other side of the screen is a customer service agent handling multiple tickets on different channels – chances that he will be able to reply instantly, even if the request is not very complicated, are rather thin. That’s where chat bots come into play.

Although there is no way to completely replace human agents and relate on technology by itself, adding more automation to your Customer Service workflow will help both your team, who will have more time to focus on more complex problems and your customers, who whenever the problem doesn’t require human intervention, will be able to get the answers they need instantly. Chat bots, although not perfect yet, are great for variety of tasks, like restoring passwords or carrying online purchases. For 50 million brands that use Facebook Messenger for their Customer Service, bots are a great chance to make it more efficient. And optimizing customer support is a huge challenge for brands from all around the world – in 2015 62% of consumers stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience.

But what if your company offers its services to international customers? Multilingual customer service is becoming a standard. Only 28% of internet users browse the web in English. When catering to customers from around the world, translating your existing content into multiple languages is not enough – you have to also be able to communicate with those people in the same language they were browsing your website in. Facebook itself is localized into over 70 languages including Upside Down English and Pirate – when going through Facebook, we’re used to doing so in our native language.

Luckily, there is a great solution to make your chat bot a real polyglot. With Unbabel’s Cyrano API, any Facebook bot can instantly speak more than 20 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, French and Spanish. Customer messages the bot in his native language, and bot’s reply gets instantly translated into that language with our AI powered machine translation. Whenever the MT-translated text is not clear enough, with just one click the customer can request human translation. Unbabel’s community of +40k editors from around the world will work on polishing the text and making it sound native – and then post it directly to that Messenger conversation.

multilingual bot

Chat bots are a great way to handle a variety of customer service requests, but first you need to make sure that this form of support is available to all your customers, not only the ones that speak English. Providing excellent customer service across all languages will significantly improve your customer satisfaction levels. If you neglect whole segments of your customers, chances are they will not come back. It’s 6 times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain existing one.

You don’t have to hire multiple agents to answer messages in different languages. Imagine one agent superpowered by Unbabel talking both to your Chinese and Russian customers. Just like you can easily turn any agent in your Zendesk helpdesk multilingual with Unbabel for Zendesk app, you can make your chat bot talk to your customers in their language by integrating it with Cyrano API – it takes less than an hour! You can try it out now, by going here and downloading the API documentation. Curious how Cyrano will respond to a message in your language? Go to our facebook page and start the conversation.


  • Pavel Doronin
    May 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I have tested the Cyrano bot in Facebook Messenger. Some ideas about it:
    On the one hand, it is awesome that there is a bot-tailored API that helps to make bots multilingual (it seems to be a very good solution for automated helpdesk bots). On the other hand, the ‘Bad translation’ button below every message of the bot is redundant. Thus, conversation with the bot becomes unnatural. Is it bad? Yes. Why? First of all, the ‘Bad translation’ button may make users doubt whether they have received correct information (message with the ‘Bad translation’ button implies probability of error).