Instant messaging has brought an effective and efficient real-time, text-based communication to the Internet community. In addition, most instant messaging applications provide extra functions such as file transfer, contact lists, and the ability to have simultaneous conversations, which strengthens the reliance of wider sectors of users on these applications. In this project we explore the various attempts to create a unified standard for instant messaging in conjunction with a language translator designed specifically for the three most common languages in Nigeria (Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo). We show the efforts of organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in this regard, in addition to some proprietary solutions. We also shed some light on the different types of protocols that are used to implement instant messaging applications. Furthermore, the practical uses of instant messaging are highlighted alongside the benefits that will be reaped by organizations adopting the technology. We dedicate some parts of this project to review current and future research in the field. Various research trends and directions are discussed to show the impact of instant messaging on users, businesses and the decision making process.












The origin of the Internet begins with the invention and discovery of digital computers in the 1950s. Initial phenomenon of packet networking originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. (Kim, Byung-Keun 2005) The US Department of Defence awarded contracts as early as the 1960s for packet network systems, including the development of the ARPANET. The first message was sent over the ARPANET from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock's laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Packet switching networks such as ARPANET, NPL network, CYCLADES, Merit Network, Tymnet, and Telenet, were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of communications protocols. Donald Davies first designed a packet-switched network at the National Physics Laboratory in the UK, which became a testbed for UK research for almost two decades. (Couldry, Nick 2012) The ARPANET project led to the development of protocols for internetworking, in which multiple separate networks could be joined into a network of networks.


Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET). In 1982, the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was introduced as the standard networking protocol on the ARPANET. In the early 1980s the NSF funded the establishment for national supercomputing centers at several universities, and provided interconnectivity in 1986 with the NSFNET project, which also created network access to the supercomputer sites in the United States from research and education organizations. Commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the very late 1980s. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. Limited private connections to parts of the Internet by officially commercial entities emerged in several American cities by late 1989 and 1990, (Baran, Paul 1991) and the NSFNET was decommissioned in 1995, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic.

In the 1980s, research at CERN in Switzerland by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee resulted in the World Wide Web, linking hypertext documents into an information system, accessible from any node on the network. Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture, commerce, and technology, including the rise of near-instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites. The research and education community continues to develop and use advanced networks such as NSF's very high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS), Internet2, and National LambdaRail. Increasing amounts of data are transmitted at higher and higher speeds over fiber optic networks operating at 1-Gbit/s, 10-Gbit/s, or more. The Internet's takeover of the global communication landscape was almost instant in historical terms: it only communicated 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunications networks in the year 1993, already 51% by 2000, and more than 97% of the telecommunicated information by 2007. Today the Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information, commerce, entertainment, and social networking.

Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet that offers a real-time transmission of text messages from sender to receiver. Chat messages are generally short in order to enable other participants to respond quickly. Thereby, a feeling similar to a spoken conversation is created, which distinguishes chatting from other text-based online communication forms such as Internet forums and email. Online chat may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers and voice and video chat, or may be a feature of a web conferencing service.


Online chat in a less stringent definition may be primarily any direct text-based or video-based (webcams), one-on-one chat or one-to-many group chat (formally also known as synchronous conferencing), using tools such as instant messengers, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), talkers and possibly MUDs. The expression online chat comes from the word chat which means "informal conversation". Online chat includes web-based applications that allow communication – often directly addressed, but anonymous between users in a multi-user environment. Web conferencing is a more specific online service that is often sold as a service, hosted on a web server controlled by the vendor.

The first online chat system was called Talkomatic, created by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley in 1973 on the PLATO System at the University of Illinois. It offered several channels, each of which could accommodate up to five people, with messages appearing on all users' screens character-by-character as they were typed. Talkomatic was very popular among PLATO users into the mid-1980s. In 2014, Brown and Woolley released a web-based version of Talkomatic.

The first online system to use the actual command "chat" was created for The Source in 1979 by Tom Walker and Fritz Thane of Dialcom, Inc.


The first transatlantic Internet chat took place between Oulu, Finland and Corvallis, Oregon in February 1989. ( The numerous limitations of the internet chatting gave rise to instant messaging.

Instant messaging (IM) is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted bi-directionally between two parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select "send". Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed. More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.

Non-IM types of chat include multicast transmission, usually referred to as "chat rooms", where participants might be anonymous or might be previously known to each other (for example collaborators on a project that is using chat to facilitate communication). Instant messaging systems tend to facilitate connections between specified known users (often using a contact list also known as a "buddy list" or "friend list"). Depending on the IM protocol, the technical architecture can be peer-to-peer (direct point-to-point transmission) or client-server (an Instant message service center retransmits messages from the sender to the communication device). One the problems faced by Instant messaging since its inception is its inability to instantly translate one language to another so that users speaking different language can easily communicate. It is on this background however that this research work was embarked on to design a multilingual chat application.


In recent years, along with the development of Internet communication technologies, various network-related applications are springing up. In the Web2.0 era, social network and its related applications are the hottest topics. Among them, the instant messaging (IM) has become nowadays an important medium for people to communicate for its convenience and free of use. The instant messaging has shortened the geographical distance between people all over the world - the conversation is as easy as sitting in front of the computer and popping fingers to type – the text communication has become easy and efficient. However, the invisible distance – the barrier results from the different native-languages people speak has not been eliminated yet. Imagine that if there is a Hausa Internet users sitting in front of his computer, how to communicate through the instant messaging to have a conversation with him? So the language barrier during instant messaging is the reason behind this project.

1.3       AIM and OBJECTIVES

The following forms the objective of the study;

  1. To design a multilingual chat application
  2. To incorporate all the languages in Nigeria into the chat application so that anybody who speaks any language of Nigeria origin can use it
  3. To evaluate the existing literature of instant messaging and access the already made multilingual chat application and improve on their deficiencies.


This research work is limited to the development of a web based multilingual chat application. The implemented languages are; English, Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba


Hundreds of millions of people use IM to stay connected. In many ways, IM epitomizes the notion of the always-connected, multitasking student, sending and receiving messages at all hours, from a wide spectrum of devices, while doing several other things at the same time. While this dynamic expands access to students who are uneasy with other types of communication, it also provides new modes of expression for students who are otherwise comfortable participating in class.

IM creates an environment that approximates the sharing of a physical space, allowing distance students to engage in learning that approaches face-to-face meetings. The technology is also promoting the practice of creating “back channels,” or secondary conversations that happen at the same time, for example, as a lecture, board meeting, or conference call. Students in a lecture hall might use IM to ask each other questions about the lecture topic and share their thoughts without interrupting the professor. Eliminates use of additional multi-language tools in chat activities and users can retain mono-lingual typical chatting style, even in cross-lingual situations with chat normalization.



The name CERN is derived from the acronym for the French "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire", or European Council for Nuclear Research, a provisional body founded in 1952 with the mandate of establishing a world-class fundamental physics research organization in Europe. At that time, pure physics research concentrated on understanding the inside of the atom, hence the word "nuclear".

Instant Messaging:

Instant messaging (IM) is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted bi-directionally between two parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select "send". Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed. More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.

World Wide Web:

The World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or the Web) is an information space where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), interlinked by hypertext links, and can be accessed via the Internet. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989.


This can be defined as a set of rules and regulations that determine how data is transmitted in telecommunications and computer networking. Cryptographic protocol, a protocol for encrypting messages


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. A URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), although many people use the two terms interchangeably. A URL implies the means to access an indicated resource and is denoted by a protocol or an access mechanism, which is not true of every URI. Thus is a URL, while is not. URLs occur most commonly to reference web pages (http), but are also used for file transfer (ftp), email (mailto), database access (JDBC), and many other applications.

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