Microsoft Translator Team Blog

News and Views from the Microsoft Translator Team in Microsoft Research.

Using Tbot – the Messenger Bot powered by Microsoft Translator

Generic Content

For questions please use Microsoft Translator technical forums. We monitor them daily!

Using Tbot – the Messenger Bot powered by Microsoft Translator

Rate This
  • Comments 39


Tbot is an automated buddy that provides translations for Windows Live Messenger. It was first launched in 2008 as a prototype pre-dating many other bots and has since become immensely popular. You can have one-on-one conversations with Tbot or invite friends (group conversation) who speak different languages with Tbot translating for you.

Following is a set of frequently asked questions about the bot. If you have any technical questions, please post them in our user forums.

[Q1] How to install/add Tbot in your Messenger?

1. Open your Live Messenger and look for the Add a contact or group icon.


2. Type in as your contact.  Tbot will now show up as one of your contacts.


[Q2] How to use Tbot commands?

1. Type TBot ? to see all the Tbot commands.  You will see the following list of Tbot commands.


2.  To see your current translation language setting, type TBot lang. For instance, if you were translating from French to English in your previous session, you will see the following.


(If you're going to use Tbot for the first time, this is not applicable.)

3. To change your translation language setting, type TBot change.  Tbot will first show you the list of source languages (FROM languages) as shown below.

You have to select your source language here!!  Otherwise, Tbot won't understand any commands.  In other words, commands such as Tbot ?, Tbot lang, etc. won't work until you select your source language.


4. Once you select your source language, Tbot will ask you to select your target language (TO language).  Please select your target language.  Again, if you don't select your target language here, Tbot won't let you move on.  In other words, commands such as Tbot ?, Tbot set, etc. won't work until you select your target language.


5. Once the source and the target languages got selected, you're ready to translate.  Start typing any sentences.

Here is a snapshot for TBot translating from English to Japanese.


6.  Now if you want to change your language pairs, you can just type TBot change, and do #3 and #4 above.

     If you want to list all the TBot commands, you can type TBot ? 

7. How to use TBot set

One of the TBot commands is TBot set.  Please note that this is to set up the language for your user interface, not for your translation language(s). 

For instance, when you type TBot set, you'll see the language list as shown below.


If you are a Korean and want to see TBot's instructions in Korean, you select Korean, so that you can see TBot's instructions in Korean as shown below.

[Q3] How to talk to someone with Tbot's help?

Here is an example of how Takako who speaks Japanese is able to talk to Erik, who speaks Portuguese.

(1)   Takako invites Erik, and then invites Tbot.  You’ll see both Erik and Tbot on your conversation pane as shown below.


(2) Takako set the language pair using the Tbot command, “Tbot change”.

She set the source language to Japanese and the target language to Portuguese.



(3)   Takako and Erik can start the conversation using Japanese and Portuguese, respectively.

For instance:



That's it!

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 4 and 5 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • The bot went down yesterday and has not been working for me since then!  Whats up??

  • Tbot is now back online.  Please try it again!

  • is Tbot down? does this happen a lot?

  • We were rolling out a update to Tbot, which inadvertently brought it down.  It should be functioning again.  Please try now.

  • So, in the meantime I got some help by the Buddies. It works that way: you initiate a chat or get invited to one, then you invite the Tbot in addition. Separately or before you configured your language pair as needed, e.g. English - Spanish. When invited Tbot now recognizes you and the language pair you configured before. You start activating Tbot by greeting him (e.g. Hello), from this point of time on he will translate for you. And the point is: he automatically translates for the other person too, but in different direction (in that case Spanish - English). That way the whole conversation can happen without any limit. Thanks to all of you wanting to help, maybe this info is useful for you too :)

  • How can I keep TBot active after I have not typed anything for awhile? I have MSN Messenger on my 4G iphone and I do not know how to invite contacts  using TBot, can anybody help me?

  • Hello Mike,

    Unfortunately, there is no "keep alive" feature for Tbot.  After a period of inactivity, Tbot itself will go inactive.  However, it should become active again if you ping it with a simple "Hello".

    In response to your second question, tbot is designed to support group conversations.  The gating factor is which messenger client you are using.  I suspect you may be using the IPhone WL messenger, which does not support group chats, so tbot will not work in that context.  We're in contact with the messenger team to have this problem resolved.


    The Microsoft Translator Team

  • Tbot is down again 3 February 2011.  Any ideas how to get it working again?

  • Dear G,

    Thank you for the notification.  We are currently working to bring Tbot back online.  As soon as it is active again, we will post a notice here.


    The Microsoft Translator Team

  • How do I connect the BOT with the person I want to translate with. I want to set up between myself(english) and a friend(spanish) what do I do?? to get translating ??  When do I bring Bot in?? After myself and contact are connected  ???

  • Hi Randall,

    you invite the person you want to talk with and TBot into the same conversation. TBot will translate everything either of you says in the conversation. You can also invite additional people into the conversation.

    Chris Wendt

    Microsoft Translator

  • thank you so much

  • All these instructions seem so simple but when I'm attempting to use the bot with my foreign friends I can never get it to work. My friends always have to initiate the mtbot. I have no idea why it will not work for even after I follow the detailed instructions.

  • Hello Tweetalig,

    It would be helpful if you can specify where/at which stage you usually get stuck.  That way, we can provide you more specific instructions.  Thank you.  Takako (Translator Team)

  • Something beautiful translation of the Messenger

     This helps a lot on the speed of answer

    I want to download this product.

    Thank you very much

Page 2 of 3 (39 items) 123