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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON TRANSLATING USER MESSAGES - This application from Nhn Corporation seeks to patent the idea of...automatically translating IM messages from one language to another! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before Dec 21, 2011 that discusses:

  • Translating IM messages automatically in a messaging application;

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question.. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - A reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO does the translation in REAL-TIME or uses PUSH NOTIFICATION.

TITLE: TRANSLATING USER MESSAGES

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Within a messaging application, translating received messages from a 1st language and displaying them in a 2nd language.

  • Publication Number: US 20130166275 A1
  • Application Number: 13/550,467
  • Assignee: Nhn Corporation
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating Dec 21, 2011
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through Dec 27, 2013

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method for providing an interpretation service using a messaging application, the method comprising:

  1. Receiving a message of a first language in a conversation session provided by the messaging application in a terminal;;

  2. Translating the message of the first language into a message of a second language; and

  3. Providing the message of the second language in the conversation session.

In English this means:

A method for translating IM messages:

  1. Receiving a message in a 1st language in a conversation session

  2. Translating the message into a 2nd language

  3. Displaying the message in a 2nd language in the same conversation session

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to the Dec 21, 2011.

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming translation in REAL-TIME, using PUSH NOTIFICATION.


"Translation bots being added in an instant messaging service” from the Applicant


What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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5 Answers 5

This patent relates to inline translation of SMS messages. 2003. Patent US7272406

Is SMS vs. the generic term "IM" enough to invalidate this?

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That patent covers performing the translation at an intermediate network node between the sender and recipient, rather than at the recipient. It might still provide for obviousness, I don't know. End-client devices have got a lot more capable in the past decade, so moving a complex function down to them is a reasonably obvious step. –  Chromatix Jul 27 '13 at 19:55

I think I've found prior art. Specifically, an instant messaging tool which can automatically translate the sent message from one language to another.

What is it?

QQ International, which is an "easy to use messenger which focuses on connecting people in China while constantly putting the most useful China-related information into users hands." It contains a translation feature which will translate a sender's message into a second language.

When was it published?

The translation feature shows up in the manual on Aug 16, 2011 in the Wayback Machine.

The app itself appears in the Wayback machine on August 1, 2010, but does not appear to contain the translation feature at this time.

What, specifically, did it do first?

It will automatically translate a sender's message from one language to another before sending it to another party, assuming the user chooses "Translate and send message simultaneously" in the settings. It'll translate it manually too, if you want to click a button (unsurprisingly, "Translate") or hit a keystroke (ALT-E).

Displayed languages include: Chinese Simplified -> English, English -> Chinese Simplified, English -> Japanese, English -> French, English -> German, Chinese Simplified -> Russian

although there is a mention of more than "50 languages", no others are specifically listed.

Does it cover the specific points asked for?

Receiving a message of a first language in a conversation session provided by the messaging application in a terminal ("Receiving a message in a 1st language in a conversation session")

Yes. The key here is that the sender can send their text in two languages in one shot - the first language, and the second (translated) language. They do this by turning on the "Attach original text using translated comment" setting.

Translating the message of the first language into a message of a second language; and

Yes. As mentioned before, this is done on the sender's end, either automatically with another setting or manually via a keystroke/button press.

Providing the message of the second language in the conversation session.

Yes. The second (translated) part of the message is also sent.

EXTRA CREDIT - A reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO does the translation in REAL-TIME or uses PUSH NOTIFICATION.

Turning on the "Translate and send message simultaneously" would achieve the real-time translation desired.

I think a case can be made for push technology as well, considering that it implements the concept of groups. You join a group - the "subscription" part of push technology, similar to a channel After being confirmed, you're then in, and then receiving messages from other members of the group. When any member of the group sends a message, it's pushed to your client application. It is very likely that the messages hit a central server, rather than peer-to-peer, but I do not know for sure. Any member of that group could then use the translation feature to send their text in the first and second languages.

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Unfortunately, I think that translating the message on the sender side would not match this patent. It talks quite clearly about translating after receiving the message. –  Chromatix Jul 27 '13 at 19:49

There is a work from 2004 (with screenshots). See related works too.

Nair, R., Shiroor, K. and Godfrey, J. “BuzzTrans: Evaluation of a Translating Instant Messenger Client”. In Proceedings of IHCI 2004. http://www.rahulnair.net/buzztrans.html

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.64.5255

A method for translating IM messages:

    Receiving a message in a 1st language in a conversation session

Same.

    Translating the message into a 2nd language

Same.

    Displaying the message in a 2nd language in the same conversation session

The both translated and original messages are displayed.

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I believe that good prior art for the real-time translation of instant messages with push notification is:

http://www.google.com/patents/US20030125927

  • Title: Method and system for translating instant messages
  • Publication Number: US 20030125927 A1
  • Assignee: Microsoft Corporation
  • Filing Date: Dec 28, 2001
  • Publication Date: Jul 3, 2003

Claim 1. A method for translating instant messages exchanged between two or more devices over a network by one or more users that communicate in different languages

Claim 13. A system for providing real-time communication over a network between two or more devices to support multiple languages

The issue would seem to be the push notification part. The earlier patent is quite broad and almost certainly encompasses a translation bot and/or push notification:

For example:

[0029] Referring again to FIG. 4, the content translation module 154 is shown as being at a network address xxx.yyy.zzz, and located at a location separate from that of the source device 142 and destination device 144. However, the invention is not limited to this configuration. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the content translation module 154 may be located within the same network as the source or destination device, such as within an intranet or network cluster having the same domain in or network location as the source and destination devices. FIG. 3 provides only one example of a network configuration suitable for practicing the invention. Any network configuration that allows for the operation of the content translation module 154 is within the scope of the invention. Furthermore, any means by which messages can be translated dynamically—interactively during the session—and without extra effort on the part of the user, is within the scope of the invention.

I would argue that push notification means that a message is sent to the receiver without an initiating request from the receiver. The original patent covers this exactly. The message originates from the sender and is sent to the receiver without any request from the receiver, whether via a "Dll" or "server farm or network cluster configuration" or any other intermediate means.

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Honestly, I think push notification is an obvious extension of the system described here. For example, SMS is always push based, so any application of automatic translation to SMS would be push-based translated messaging. –  Chromatix Jul 27 '13 at 19:48

Google talk had this at least as far back as 2007, as documented in this blog post: http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-12-19-n41.html

Current documentation (undated): https://support.google.com/chat/answer/172257?hl=en-GB

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