Keybot - Translation Search Machine

Keybot is a web-based translation search machine operated by Keybot LLC, based in Geneva. It indexes multilingual websites in over 140 languages and is constantly adding new languages as well. As an application, Keybot helps users find fitting sample translations online, thereby making it easier to find specialist terms not included in conventional online dictionaries. Keybot not only works with language pairs, like other services of this type, but also allows its users to perform searches in any number of language combinations and have the answers displayed beneath each other in the search results. This makes Keybot useful not just for comparative linguists, but also for translators seeking to derive new terms from the most commonly used languages in less widespread regional languages.


The search engine offers more than 10,000 language combinations, so it covers many minority languages that are under pressure from majority languages and are not included by commercially oriented language platforms. In addition to European languages such as Romansh, Corsican and Breton, the index includes numerous African and 15 Indian languages.

Keybot is aimed primarily at professional translators who have a basic command of the language combinations they seek and are capable of evaluating the sample translations it finds. The order in which results are displayed can be influenced by using settings to define 'priority domains'. This feature enables users to configure the search engine so that selected web domains containing the terms they are looking for are displayed at the top of the list. Search results are displayed as snippets with the hits presented in both the source and target languages. In addition, all pages can be downloaded as plain text or in HTML format. The parallel display of pages in the source and target languages enables context-sensitive searches for specialist terms.


A translation memory (TM) is a database of structured translations that is the main component of applications for computer-aided translation (CAT). Keybot works like a giant translation memory that individually analyses and indexes every multilingual web domain. Translators working with CAT tools including a TM can download translated segments from the Web in a standardised TMX format for free, integrate these into their system and in this way quickly take on board new customers' terminology.

How it works

Keybot has a specially programmed web crawler linked to a four-stage language recognition module capable of identifying even short texts consisting of just a few words. To divide up the text and match results with their translation, the crawler relies mainly on the formatting characters in the HTML code. The language elements are fully indexed by a proprietary system and can be retrieved via the Keybot web pages or downloaded using Web-to-TM.

Back story

The translation agency TTN Translation Network has been developing Keybot since 1999. Originally, Keybot only indexed customers' orders, to enable (different) translators to translate their terms consistently. In 2006, TTN launched an Internet search engine under the name Translation Search Machine (TSM). In 2010, the search engine was renamed Keybot and its operation was outsourced to the startup Keybot LLC. In 2019, the Web-to-TM tool was added to the search engine.