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Language Translator for Cell Phones

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  • Submitted by: Sneakers
  • Created: Nov 26, 2007, 1:18 pm
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The Idea

Language Translator for Cell Phones. This software devise would enable the user to transmit a text in their own language then by activating the specificed language they can translate their message into another language. This enables the reciever to understand the message in their own language. Great for businesses that depend on cell phones for communication in any language!! Also, it may be a little bit more complex of software , but to have a conversation on the cell phone and activate the language translator vocally. Essentially, text translation software as an option on your cell phone, and vocal translation software as an option on your cell phone.

I thought of this idea when I was...

I thought of this idea when I was working with my Spanish workers , each foreman has a cell phone, but I am limited in speaking Spanish and they are limited in understanding English. I thought if only I can send them a text describing the job task at hand they can recieve it in their language and do it. I did try google translator but I haven't found anything on a cell phone. I did apply for this idea with the patent agency and I now have a pending patent number. I just don't know where to market it from here.

Comments Posted

Rich2809 Posted: November 26, 2007, 2:10 pm

Well, it is a great idea. I live in Spain, my wife grew up in Paris and being British(ie lazy and a bit dim) I cannot speak other languages very well. This would help me immensely

You should talk to ccozad, he is working on a phone suite of applications as we talk. Well he was working on a suite of applications, now he will be up all night with new massive baby!

It might also work as a stand alone device. You would buy a pair of them.

Magickaito Posted: November 26, 2007, 5:30 pm

i think translation is a business that a lot of pple wd like to tap on.
E.g. http://www.ectaco.com from google search..

Magickaito Posted: November 26, 2007, 5:34 pm

o ya u r targetting handphone..hmm okay okay. ^__^ all the best!

GroundLoad Posted: November 27, 2007, 1:37 am

I like it - useful and there is definately a market for it.

Sneakers Posted: November 27, 2007, 7:14 am

Thanks everyone!!!!!

Kevin_Cox Posted: November 28, 2007, 9:22 pm

A Language Translator is a bit tricky.

Urbanbumpkin Posted: November 29, 2007, 3:20 am

i like it but not sure if how to realize it there may be lots tech requirement.

vanhees Posted: November 29, 2007, 3:31 am

Nice but how are you going to do this.
This is an idea but not a business idea yet

GordonMcDowell Posted: November 29, 2007, 2:22 pm

Well since we're focusing on ANDROID this week, I imagine you could use existing Google translation services as an API call...
...which would work as either a J2ME app or ANDROID app from a portable phone. Work for text, not audio. But its probably the easiest way to proceed, even if you do have an alternate patented mechanism for translation.

I'm no expert in this area. I find it hard to believe it hasn't been done already.

Magickaito Posted: November 30, 2007, 6:03 am

done frequently for electronic dictionaries... not sure why not popular in handphone...

VizionQuest Posted: November 30, 2007, 7:43 pm

Sounds great! Just automatically pass the text through Google translator and voila!

davidwei Posted: December 1, 2007, 12:42 am

Machine translation is still experimental, you struggle with a translation of a well written document, let alone informal text messages.

siddey Posted: December 1, 2007, 4:59 am

I am interested in your statement, "Great for businesses that depend on cell phones for communication in any language!!"

Which businesses do you mean?

scotty Posted: December 1, 2007, 9:56 am

I like this idea. The translation doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to allow people to communicate. This immediately made me think of twitter.com. People could send messages to a gateway that would translate and redirect to twitter via its IM interface - jabber I think - (to cut down on SMS costs). You could effectively get translation between all combinations of phone to: IM client (like gtalk), other phone, twitter, etc.

Business model: http://avc.blogs.com...the_freemium_bu.html
Start by selling and serving ads with translated text. This would be free to the end-user. Allow them to upgrade to get rid of the ads and add features like custom phrase translations and translation feedback/support.

IdeaPower Posted: December 2, 2007, 4:50 am

Might it be a good idea to start with rudimentary translation, such as translation of verbs, some nouns and some phrases? Maybe verbs such as Start, Dig, Bring, Nouns such as Backhoe, Truck and phrases such as Start digging, Bring Backhoe here and so on. Translation programs could stumble, but rudimentary translation could be a great start.

Marketing is the hard (impossible) part for me. Are there any marketers in the crowd?

scotty Posted: December 2, 2007, 8:58 am

Rather than build a translator from the ground-up (It may not seem like it, but this is very HARD). Why not just use the unofficial google translate api: http://googlified.co...oogle-translate-api/ (there may be other official/unofficial google translate apis out there)

I found this site on programmable web: http://www.vamosalsh...ndex.cfm?change=true

This site uses google translate to serve it's content in several languages.

Kevin_Cox Posted: December 2, 2007, 12:23 pm

"Essentially, text translation software as an option on your cell phone, and vocal translation software as an option on your cell phone"
Wait, I can all ready do both on my Treo
Voice recognition software (US only). Also, I all ready have text translation.

gzep Posted: December 2, 2007, 4:29 pm

The size and complexity of a data store for translating from any one language to any one other is huge.

A system needs to be trained to your voice, and the time lag would be huge, as each sentence would need to be parsed separately, and people don't normally say one sentence then pause for the translation to go through.

If you want the output to be in your voice, not a machine voice, you'd need a phoneme mapper, and a set of phonemes read by you.

It is an idea, and it will come, but I don't see it happening soon, and not for multiple languages when it does.

But it's a cool idea.

Kevin_Cox Posted: December 2, 2007, 11:38 pm

"The size and complexity of a data store for translating from any one language to any one other is huge."
Actually, it is not that big. Because you only really only need the most used words. Did you know 300 words make up about 60% to 65% of all written material.

Complexity depends on if you are checking for grammatical correctness.

I was actually working on a translator a long time ago. The biggest trouble I had was trying to find out all the matching words. (I was manually typing them in and looking them up. Not very fun, I wish I could have CHed that work.) Speed was not that big of a deal because computers can handle raw data really well.

Whats wrong with using online translator?
What is wrong with using mobile translator software?
That or mobile hardware?
Quick search on google:

ooper Posted: December 2, 2007, 11:47 pm

I like this idea, and you got my vote.

It is something I considered a while ago. At the time, I thought of my grandmother who only spoke Spanish when she was alive. I thought, wouldn't it be nice if during an emergency she was given a choice of buttons on the phone in Spanish, and all he would have to do is push the one for 911 that would send a translation of her words to the 911 system. Even better, a button for a heart attack, or something to the effect. Not ideal, but it could be a life saver.

But it doesn't have to be that dramatic, there is something to be said for the Hispanic market in the US and Canada as a niche, and I have some ideas I could contribute there.

I'd be interested in talking to you about this, I am a developer, know the Hispanic market and I am multi-lingual.

I'm not sure how you would make money though...

GordonMcDowell Posted: December 3, 2007, 11:25 am

I know its a lot to ask as ideas collect increasingly long streams of comments, but Kevin_Cox is citing prior implementations and asking good questions here. It might be possible to built a better translator... but there are translators which will be accessible via ANDROID, even if its just web surfing to them.

If this flies, it will be because it is android allowing us to translate content running in other apps, and not us re-writing any particular app up again from scratch (plus translation feature). The possibility of that needs to be tested for this to be worth pursuing.

ccozad Posted: December 3, 2007, 11:36 am

so the natural question is, does anyone know of a good web 2.0 translation API?

Google has added the most support for REST based web services in Andoid (I have found limited support for SOAP based web services...trying to roll my own support right now... what a mess...)

So the request:

Links to a good REST based translation web service.

Cateh Posted: December 3, 2007, 3:18 pm
Rich2809 Posted: December 4, 2007, 2:48 am

looks like lots of people already do it

GordonMcDowell Posted: December 4, 2007, 7:57 am

So Sneakers hasn't commented on this idea. Existing solutions cited. Yet this is the highest ranked idea at the moment... by quite a wide margin. That's great.

Sneakers Posted: December 4, 2007, 11:10 am

Thanks for all the comment's. I am not the greatest in technicial configuration, but I do realize the need for something like this. I have learned alot of ideas from all your comments. I already have a pending patent for this idea from a Patent Attorney, so I think we can all make this work,. First of all texting is probably the most easiest route. Second, Japan is on this, the way I see in Japanense language first. I do know over 5 million Spanish people live or work in the US ,so I think we should concentrate on that and with the texting options first. I don't think we should re-create the wheel but have many options available for many consumers and the such.

stevesitv Posted: December 4, 2007, 1:33 pm

Just read about Sony having a mobile Japanese-to-English app

Kevin_Cox Posted: December 4, 2007, 9:11 pm

"pending patent"
What is the patent number?

MCaballes Posted: December 4, 2007, 10:07 pm

Hmmm.. I see half of the world will vote on this from Latino-Spanish speaking to the billion Chinese who would like to explore the perk of an English speaking world via their mobile!

Cheer up runner ups you still got a life ahead. =)(joke)

LarsBell Posted: December 5, 2007, 5:29 am

You have a patent pending.
And these people havce a patent pending

Should be an interesting legal battle. Have fun with that.

GordonMcDowell Posted: December 5, 2007, 8:15 am

Sneakers, if its patent pending... what does that mean? That you can or can't describe the process? Because if you can't and there's a patent bottleneck on production... then there's nothing to do but wait for your patent to clear.

I'm not too worried about HOW the translation occurs... there's good and bad solutions to that...

(Good read on translation software approach by WIRED follows...)

Probably what is more important than quality is how easily the tool can be used. I think building something now which leverages existing translation APIs is more important than building a better translator. And if/when the better translator is built, THAT translation engine can be called instead.

Magickaito Posted: December 5, 2007, 12:27 pm

Yeah i think that might be the only difference you can make in android - for other application to conveniently access ur translation APIs.

eKKeNomo Posted: December 5, 2007, 1:50 pm

congratulations.... show us the way to the next level!

Rich2809 Posted: December 5, 2007, 1:59 pm

Great Job, make it work

Rich2809 Posted: December 14, 2007, 2:22 am

Just read an article about this idea. The have an app that can translate menus via your cell

CharonV Posted: December 14, 2007, 8:32 am


I have read in yesterdays English Daily Mail, that Nokia are shortly going to offer a translation service on their N95 model.

Nokia are commencing with Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese Menues.
Basically , you take a picture of the menue with the Nokia Phone Camera
and the translation pops up on the phone screen in a few seconds.

This may assist you in developing your idea?

good Luck

RedTable Posted: December 14, 2007, 11:11 am

Great idea!

natmaka Posted: January 11, 2008, 2:16 am

A "somewhat imperfect" translation can lead to a boo-boo, maybe a major one on some contexts. No insurance company will endorse the potential liabilities if the translation service is not as good as human translators.

A proper translation can only be made by a translator understanding the source text and this implies intelligence. Add to this that there is no intelligent software, and we are done.

As WP puts it "Machine translation, therefore, is believed to be AI-complete: it may require strong AI to be done as well as humans can do it." ( http://en.wikipedia....ificial_intelligence , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_AI ). In fact many thought that a stupid machine (a big database and some rules, sort of) will be able to translate, but all projects (some started in the fifties) failed.

Successfully developing the necessary 'intelligent' (as a human, Turing test...) software would have tremendous consequences in nearly all aspects of our lives.

The only way to do offer such a service, right now, is (beyond tolerating improper translation) to limit the set of terms and grammatical forms, to let the source "build" each (simple) sentence thanks to predefined 'blocks' inserted in 'slots' (no implicits, no ambiguity...), and for a specific domain (such systems exists and are used, some are pretty old, see http://en.wikipedia....rg/wiki/METEO_System ). To conceive and implement an user interface running on a phone for such a program may be the most realistic (albeit pretty difficult) approach.

maddie40 Posted: January 25, 2008, 4:34 am

i think google has something like this now

nwalker Posted: May 11, 2008, 5:00 pm

hm. in my country we have that long time ago but problem is that you have to pay every SMS for every word you type
it is easier to use google on your cell phone :-)


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