A customer would register their number with a preferred language, and messages that are sent in a different language are automatically translated before they are transmitted to that user’s phone. That customer can then respond in their own language and the message is translated back to the recipients preferred language.
Right now, the technology is only handling translations between English and Spanish, but AT&T is already preparing to expand the project to support another six languages. The program is in a working pilot stage, being tested by AT&T employees. The neatest feature besides the automatic translation is that it works on any device and does not require some application or interface be installed to make it work.
Texts sent in Spanish from the SGS III on the right appear in English on an unmodified iPhone on the left.
The text message translation certainly has plenty of practical applications, and would be very handy for those that work with a lot of international businesses or families and friends in different countries with a preference to speak different languages.
source: Technology Review