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Taliyah Huang: Young Inventor of Bobaway, Online Translator that Converts English to Taiwanese Ep 253

By Felicia Lin

Taliyah Huang is the creator of Bobaway, an online translator that converts English text into a Taiwanese audio clip. She is a sophomore studying biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. After months away at college Taliyah felt her Taiwanese was out of practice so she created Bobaway to get better at Taiwanese and converse fluently with her grandparents. In June she posted a YouTube video about how she created it. A lot has happened since then. She’s been interviewed by and listed on the Taiwanese American Archives. Many generous donors have allowed her to continue running Bobaway and she’s purchased a domain for it so now you can use Bobaway at


She’s continuing to work on improvements and additional features for BobaWay, but at much slower pace now that she’s busy with school. If you want to support her development of Bobaway visit her website


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • What motivated Taliyah to create Bobaway
  • How Taliyah got interested in technology
  • Taliyah’s first invention was a contraption to clean her flute
  • How Taliyah presented her first invention to US Vice President Mike Pence
  • Taliyah’s background and upbringing
  • Taliyah’s relationship with her grandparents
  • Taliyah’s favorite phrases in Taiwanese
  • How Taliyah learned to program and code
  • What Taliyah enjoys most about being an engineer
  • How Taliyah installed 100 different libraries and made 17 attempts to create Bobaway
  • How long it took Taliyah to create Bobaway
  • Why Taliyah decided to make and post a YouTube video showing how she created Bobaway
  • How Taliyah wants to inspire other young women to be interested in technology and engineering
  • Why Taliyah thinks it’s important for women to other women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)
  • What kept Taliyah going and how she was not able to give up on creating Bobaway
  • How long it took Taliyah to make the YouTube video about Bobaway
  • Where the name Bobaway comes from
  • What her parents and grandparents think about Bobaway
  • The attention and response that Bobaway has gotten
  • How Taliyah has been interviewed by Bao Dao Radio and Radio Taiwan and World Journal
  • How Taliyah grew up in California and is now on the East Coast attending Johns Hopkins University
  • Why Taliyah decided to attend Johns Hopkins and what it’s been like attending Johns Hopkins
  • Inventions that Taliyah is currently working on
  • Suggestions that Taliyah has gotten from people using Bobaway
  • Taliyah’s role models
  • How you can learn more about Taliyah and support her development of Bobaway


Related Links:


Taliyah Huang’s website:


Taliyah’s Youtube video: Learn to speak the way of the Bobas! (台語):


Taliyah Huang on Instagram:


Taliyah Huang on Facebook:


Taliyah Huang’s listing on the Taiwanese American Archives:


How she built this: sophomore Taliyah Huang invents a Taiwanese-English translation tool to bridge language gaps:


Meta has developed an AI translator for a primarily-spoken language:


AI translates Hokkien, an unwritten language, for the first time:

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About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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