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1 SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR LANGUAGE TRANSLATION IN NETWORK BROWSING APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/681,458 filed May 17, 2005 entitled Systems and Methods for Providing Features and User Interface in Network Browsing Applications, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
This application includes material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Oflice files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
The present invention relates in general to the field of network browsing-enabled applications, and in particular to systems and methods for providing language translation features in such applications.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Network browsing applications allow a computer user to view the contents of a network. Some network browsing applications, like Windows Explorer distributed by the Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash., focus on specific types of networks and/ or files. For example, Windows Explorer is primarily oriented toward browsing files in a local area network. Other network browsing applications, such as Netscape Navigator, distributed by Netscape Corporation of MountainV1ew, Calif., or Internet Explorer, distributed by the Microsoft Corporation, allow users to install “plug-in” applications that allow the network browsing application to work with additional file types. Additional examples of network browsing applications, referred to herein as “browsing applications” for simplicity, include, without limitation, internet browsers, mail programs with browsing capabilities, filesharing applications, and any application which provides the capability to browse resources either on an extemal network (e.g., the internet) or an internal network. Such applications may be separate from or integrated into an operating system.
Many browsing application developers have focused their development efforts in the manner described above in an effort to meet certain market needs. Unfortunately, while the developers have greatly enhanced underlying browsing application functionality, they have not spent much time enhancing the user interface and related features associated with browsing applications.
One such feature is the browsing application’s foreign language display capabilities. Many browsers have historically struggled to display non-ASCII characters, including pictographs, ideograms and cuneifonn characters such as those used in many Asian languages and Middle Eastern languages. Given the difficulty browsers faced simply displaying such characters, it is little wonder that efforts to enhance the browsing application’s multi-lingual capabilities have been slow to mature.
By way of example, browsing applications camiot perfonn linguistic translation. At best, language translation can be performed through software running on the user’s computer, such as Systran 5.0, distributed by Systran Language Translation Systems of Paris, France, or Lec, distributed by Language Engineering Company, LLC of Belmont, Mass., or via
a server-based web page, such as http://babelfish.altavista.com or http://dictionary.reference.com/translate. However, even where the translation is perfonned by a server-based web page, the user must navigate away from the current web page before the translation can be initiated. This is, at the least, inconvenient for the user.
What is needed is a means through which a user can more readily translate an entire page, or portion thereof, that is displayed in a browsing application.
Accordingly, the present invention is directed to systems and methods for providing features and user interfaces in network browsing applications that substantially obviate one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.
In one embodiment a browsing application for accessing resources over a network includes code for receiving a command from a user to translate textual material appearing on an arbitrary page displayed in a display area of the browsing application, and code for causing the textual material to be passed to a translation resource on the network, whereby the display area of the browsing application is caused to display a page which includes a translation of the textual material. The application may display a menu accessible from an arbitrary page whereby the user may select among translation options such as a translate to language and a translate from language. The application may further be configured to cause text selected by a user to be translated, and/or may cause an entire page to be translated. Translated text may be displayed along with graphics in a layout similar to that of the original page.
In other embodiments the browsing application includes code for retrieving and displaying network resources in a display area in accordance with a umfonn resource locator entered or selected in an address field, code for receiving a command from a user to translate selected textual material appearing on an arbitrary page displayed in the display area, and code for causing the selected textual material to be passed to a translation resource on the network, whereby the display area is caused to display a page comprising a translation of the selected textual material.
In further embodiments code is provided for use in connection with a browsing application, the code including code for receiving a command from a user to translate textual material appearing on an arbitrary page displayed in the display area, and code for causing the textual material to be passed to a translation resource on the network, whereby the display area is caused to display a page including a translation of the textual material, wherein the entire page is displayed with the translation of the textual material arranged among graphics in a manner similar to that of the original untranslated arbitrary page.
Although the embodiments set forth above are directed to textual material, it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that graphical representations of textual material, including cuneiform and other such characters, may be the subject of translation without departing from the spirit or the scope of the invention.
Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure par
ticularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a screen capture illustrating an exemplary translation menu.
FIG. 2 is a screen capture illustrating an exemplary dialog box resulting from the selection of a translation option from the translation menu illustrated in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a screen capture of an embodiment of the invention wherein the entire page at a current URL is translated.
FIG. 4 is a screen capture illustrating an exemplary embodiment of the invention wherein the page at the URL of FIG. 3 has been translated.
FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary architecture supporting the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
The disclosed embodiments relate to improved language translation features for network browsing-enabled applications. Such applications, referred to herein as “browsing applications,” include, e.g., internet browsers, mail programs with browsing capabilities, file-sharing applications, and any application which provides the capability to browse resources either on an extemal network (e.g., the internet) or an internal network. Such applications may be separate from or integrated into an operating system.
The functionality of the embodiments described herein is provided in the form of add-ons or plug-ins to an existing browsing application such as a web browser, but can alternatively be provided in the form of features written into a browsing application at the application’s source code level. In certain embodiments, one or more of the features or functionality described below are provided as a compiled .dll file or series of compiled .dll files which are loaded at startup or runtime in connection with an existing browsing application so as to provide an improved user interface and/or additional functionality to the browsing application.
As is set forth in further detail below, one or more of the features or functionality described below can be provided or customized by a feed such as an XML feed which is delivered to the browser upon the occurrence of a triggering event. Such triggering event include, e.g., the loading of the browser into the operating system, a change in user-specific parameters, a time of day, etc. For load-balancing or other purposes, the triggering of feed downloads can be limited to a certain number of times per day, hour, minute, etc. The triggering event can occur on the client or on a server, and the feed can be requested by the client or pushed to the client from a server. In this respect, “client” as used herein can be either a client browsing application such as a web browser or a client machine in general.
FIGS. 1 through 5 illustrate embodiments wherein a language translation feature is provided by browsing application 1 in combination with a network-accessible translation engine such as a web-based translation site or locally accessible translation program, service or plug-in. In a first embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 1, browsing application 1 allows the user to highlight an arbitrary block of text or other characters 25 on an arbitrary page and display translation options 27, e.g., by right-clicking the selected characters 25 to
display a menu with translation options. The menu may be a hierarchical nested menu as shown.
The translation options 27 can include, but are not limited to, “from” and “to” languages such as English-to-Italian, German-to-French, Italian-to-English, Chinese-to-Japanese, Korean-to-English, Hebrew-to-Portuguese, and the like. Browsing application 1 preferably includes processes which deliver the selected characters 25 to a language translation engine on the network along with a request to translate the characters from and to the selected languages. FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary dialog box 29 that can result from the selection of a translation option 27 illustrated in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary embodiment in which the user can perform language translation upon an entire page at a current URL. Browsing application 1 in accordance with this embodiment allows a user to navigate to an arbitrary page and display language translation options 27 for the page, e.g., by right-clicking anywhere in the page to display a menu of translation options. Browsing application 1 preferably includes or has associated therewith processes which receive the selected translation option, in much the same manner as is described above with regard to FIG. 1, and deliver the entire page, or altematively just the text-related portions of the page without graphics, to a language translation engine on the network along with a request to translate the textual material from and to the selected languages. In an alternative embodiment, the processes may receive the selected translation option and deliver a URL of the page-to-be-translated to a language translation engine on the network along with a request to translate the textual material from and to the selected languages. It should be apparent to one skilled in the art that textual material as used herein may be traditional ASCII text, extended text sets, any text supported by a markup language, characters associated with any language, and/or graphical representations of characters.
Upon receipt of the data from the processes, the language translation engine translates the textual material from the page and retums a page which is formatted similarly or identically to the original page but which includes the translated textual material. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a translated page 31 that has been retumed and displayed in browsing application 1 as a result of the selection of a translation option as illustrated in FIG. 3.As can be seen in FIG. 4, graphics and textual material can appear on the page 31 in much the same format as in the original page, but the textual material has been translated in accordance with the “from” and “to” languages selected by the user.
The list of languages available for translation and other configuration settings 14 can be transmitted to the user’s browsing application 1 for storage on client 1 as local configuration settings 20 in various marmers. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 5, configuration settings 14 can be transmitted from central server 12 via an XML feed that is requested by browsing application 1 at the client side when the user starts browsing application 1, logs into his account, or upon the occurrence of another event.
When the user requests translation of a block of textual material or an entire page, such as a page stored on standard web server 16, browsing application 1 sends the request to translation engine 22. Translation engine 22 can translate the textual material contained in the browsing application 1’s request if such textual material exists, or translation engine 22 may request and retrieve the textual material from standard web server 16 if browsing application 1 provides a URL. Translation engine 22 can then transmit the translated textual material, or a fully-formedpage including graphics, to browsing application 1.