News about short domain names intrigues investors, but it can be frustrating if the information is not available in English. Online translation services such as Google Translate may help, but sometimes critical information may be lost in translation. Here is a case.
Huashi Weiye(华世伟业) is a game development company. They acquired the domain name XYM.com in 2012 as the official website for a series of games titled 厦门游 (Xia Men You). The domain name matches the Pinyin name of the game series. In early 2014 the domain name was stolen, then resold several times until it was acquired by the current owner in 2015 for $15k (100k yuan).
Recently, the company tried to recover the domain name via legal proceeding (UDRP). The UDRP decision was made but not in favor of the company. The key point here is that the company does not own any registered trademark for the word XMY, and they failed to prove they have any common law rights to the name. The domain name is currently for sale at $330k (2.2m yuan).
Unfortunately, the decision is written only in Chinese. If you try to use Google Translate, for example, to read the decision in English, you’ll be very disappointed, because the translation contains many critical errors listed below.
1. Title of games (Chinese: 厦门游). The Chinese name means Xiamen Games. Google translates it as Xiamen Tour or Xiamen Swim, which are both wrong because Google fails to understand the context. The games have nothing to do with touring or swimming at the Xiamen city. It’s about games with extensive cultural elements of this city.
2. Geographical coverage (Chinese: 在中国福建省尤其是厦门市地域内是一款非常知名的网络棋牌游戏平台). Xiamen Games is popular only within the Fujian Province. However, Google translation is “especially in China, Fujian Province, Xiamen Local Taxation region is a very well-known network chess gaming platform”, which may imply the games are well-known throughout China.
3. Market prices of domain names (Chinese: 正常市场价格8-10万元人民币). The market prices for similar domain names were ranging from 80k to 100k RMB, but Google translation is “normal market price of RMB 8-10 million”, which is 10 times of the correct ones.
4. Police report (Chinese: 警方未予以立案). There is no police record, so making the case of stolen domain name is hard to prove. Google translation is “The police not to be a criminal; announcement”. How funny to see police announced to be not criminal!
5. Domain owner’s location (Chinese: 远在湖北的被投诉人不是游戏玩家). The domain owner is not a gamer and lives in Hubei, which is far away from Xiamen. Google translation is “The Respondent is not far away gamers in Hubei”.
6. Title of games again (Chinese:“厦门游”本身也带有高度形容性及地理名称). The name itself is highly descriptive and related to a geographic location. Google translation is “describe itself with a highly sexual and geographic names”. Where does sex come into play?
So, technologies of artificial intelligence in general and machine translation in particular have not come to a stage where they can stand on their own, and human assistance is still necessary. The moral of this story? Have a Chinese friend!
You can find the UDRP decision in Chinese at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2016-0961.