Things that caught our eye

An algorithm to translate to Emoji

19 May , 2015  | by:

I just came across the “The Emoji Translation Project” on Kickstarter. The project’s aim is to build an emoji translation engine. How do you build such an engine?

“There’s plenty of content around the web in English, but there’s not that much in emoji. Thats why we’re raising money on Kickstarter: we want to pay people to translate sentences into emoji.”

“The end result will be an algorithm capable of translating any phrase from English to emoji (and back, we hope). Along with sharing the data, we’ll make the trained engine publicly available online for anyone to use, just like Google Translate. Just think of something you want to express in emoji, and press “Translate!”

“We will then use those sentences to train a translation engine powered by statistics and machine learning. This method goes beyond a simple find-and-replace system, and actually models how ideas are represented in emoji, and then how simple ideas are composed to communicate complex ideas.”

Below is an example of a translated text that reminds of the movie Lost in Translation.


The project will only be funded if at least $15.000 is pledged by May 21st. As of writing, a little under $6.000 has been pledged, so there is little chance the translation engine will actually see the light of day. After reading Robbie Fordyce’s latest piece on Facebook Stickers, I wonder if Facebook could be interested in the technology. Only 48 hours left to invest!

Check out the project on Kickstarter

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