Patent application US20130132065 Acquiring Accurate Machine Translation --- Prior Art Request.

The patent application outlines translating from a source language to another language with the added feature of presenting a list of word choices to the user to select the more appropriately translated word for words that are ambiguous. Looking for prior art for the use of user input to decide which translation to use for an ambiguous word.

Its priority date is Nov 17, 2011

Claim 1

  1. A method for providing language translation, the method comprising:

    providing a plurality of words in an input language to a computer device;

    evaluating a linguistic structure of the plurality of words in the input language;

    evaluating semantics of the plurality of words in the input language;

    evaluating the plurality of words in the input language using linguistic descriptions of the input language;

    translating the plurality of words in the input language to an expression in an output language;

    identifying at least one word of the plurality of words in the input language that has a syntactic ambiguity or a semantic ambiguity;

    displaying on a user interface two or more options corresponding to two or more meanings associated with said syntactic ambiguity or said semantic ambiguity;

    receiving an indication of selection of one or more of the two or more options corresponding to two or more meanings; and

    displaying an indication of the selection of the one or more of the two or more options corresponding to said two or more meanings.

In English: a computerized language translation system using steps of linguistic structure analysis and semantic analysis and word translation that resolves ambiguity in the meaning of an input word by displaying alternative meanings to a human in the input language and using the human selection to proceed with the machine translation.

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I am not sure if this helps, but that very feature was available in Power Translator (created by Globalink, acquired by :Lernout and Hauspie, and then sold to LEC). It was a standard feature since at least 1998, maybe earlier. It became a feasture in their web based version in 2003 or so. And then Systran had it as a feature in version 10.0 . . .i think . . a bit fuzzy, been a long time.

Everyone has always talked about this feature -- caled "interactive disambiguation" -- but no one has really made it work. Harold Summers wrote an influential article in 1988 -- or thereabouts -- where he described the thing that the paragraph up above is trying to patent. In fact, Logos (a now defunct MT system implemented this as far back as 1992. Doesnt seem to be anything new here . .

  • 1
    here's a published paper on this from 1994 www-clips.imag.fr/geta/herve.blanchon/Pdfs/COLING94.pdf – David Silver Sep 9 '13 at 1:41
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    eeek -- if you search on interactive dsambiguation and monolingual you get well over several dozen published pieces . . most dating from the heydy of trying this -- the early 90's – David Silver Sep 9 '13 at 1:43
  • If many tried to find a way for it work well and now someone has cracked the code there might be an invention here, just not in the broadest claims. – George White Sep 9 '13 at 3:09

Operator-assisted translation system and method for unconstrained source text


The application in question differs from many other systems by only requiring a user who knows the source language. This application also has that feature.


The computer-based translation system allows a person having full understanding and competency in a language of an original source text to confirm the meaning of the source text without requiring knowledge of any other language so that data concerning the meaning of the original language text may be used to translate automatically the original text into the other language or other languages.


Computer-Implemented Method for Use in a Translation System US 20070233460 Publication date Oct 4, 2007

The application in question differs from many other systems by only requiring a user who knows the source language. This application also has that feature.

Its abstract:

A computer-implemented method for use in natural language translation. The method involves attaching pieces of linguistic information to two or more source language elements in a source material in a first natural language. The pieces of linguistic information are matched to one or more predetermined parse rules. Associations are then formed between the two or more source language elements to form terminology candidates, which are then presented to human reviewers. Terminology candidates are subsequently validated by a user, becoming validated terminology which is then translated into a second, different, natural language, becoming translated terminology. The translated terminology can then be loaded into a machine-translation dictionary which can be used during subsequent machine-assisted translations.


Many have tried the exact method the patent proposes (though to be fair, the patent skips the most importent steps such as HOW do you select multiple meanings for a word). For example, the verb "to be" has over 500 semantic differences depending how it is used.

Also, the overall method has proven to be commercially not viable because it is onerous on the user. A typical English sentence can have several thousand meanings. Asking a user to clarify all of them makes for a lousy experience.

This patent basicaly takes an old issue, and proposes no new solution. It simply describes the dream of interactive disambiguation. A user interacts with a computer in their source language, the computer presents options, the user chooses the best one and presto! A perfect translation.

This patent proposes no new solutions. No viable method is enabled by 20130132065 which has not either been tried unsuccessfully, or is too vague to actually try.

I hope this helps.

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