Forgive me if this is already defined on Trello or in the forums; I searched but did not see anything relevant. It would be incredibly useful for Persistent Worlds that have audiences across different nationalities to have a method of automatic translation of multiplayer chat, in real-time.
When NWN was released, this would not have been technically feasible. However, these days there are multiple API-based services that provide live and accurate text translation between major languages.
NWN is unique for many reasons, but these three are particularly relevant to this feature:
- Text-based chat is predominantly used to communicate instead of voice (using 3rd party applications like Discord or Ventrilo, since it's not built in)
- Roleplaying is popular in multiplayer, since NWN is a D&D-based game. Roleplaying in games is usually performed over text for somewhat obvious reasons.
- Persistent worlds tend to harbor users from various nationalities across different regions. Other games deliberately segment regions for both user experience and network performance.
Functionally, each user would have a configuration for their native language (likely pulled through the OS). With this feature enabled, any users who receive chat messages with a different configured language and a different character set would automatically see post-translation results. It is likely that the persistent world server instance would make the required API calls to handle the translation, as opposed to the clients. The server could minimize the number of API calls by making only the required translations and distributing the results per a publisher-subscriber model, which the chat functionality likely already follows.
With the above points in mind, being able to automatically translate text from users would be useful and practical. Services like Google Translate, Yandex and Azure have really comprehensive and streamlined APIs so it's actually technically feasible now instead of circa 2002. However, I don't believe any of these services are free. I cannot say confidently if this feature request is feasible from a pricing or business perspective. Many PWs are already stretched thin with regard to server hosting costs, so they'd likely not be able to contribute to this feature from a pricing perspective. I think Beamdog would have to subsidize the cost. Thoughts?