[TECHNOLOGY] International Verbal Translator Device of 125 Languages
- INTEGRATED WAVE TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
A soldier speaks into the headset, English is translated into one of
125 languages and then broadcast from a small speaker engineered for
high noise environment. VRT tucks into an M4 single ammo pouch.
MilTrans VRT / 202.549.3096 / 202.441.0791 / info@...
Integrated Wave Technologies / 4042 Clipper Ct / Fremont, CA /
Timothy McCune / President, Chief Technologist
timothy@... / 202 549 3096
Laura Madonna / Marketing, Sales, Training
laura@... / 202 441 0791
Cindy Cook-Johnson / Business Manager
cjohnson@... / 510-353-0260
IWT President Tim McCune announced that the Voice Response
Translator, with megaphone attachment, was tested by the Navy in
Norfolk for force protection applications. The initial Weapons
Officer Reported "The device works great, this is a very nice and
unexpected addition to [the ship,s] force protection capability."
This system has since put to sea on several Navy vessels. More
extensive testing is continuing.
Voice Response Translator Deployed by USCG in Gulf Action
"It has proved to be the best interpreting tool that we have used to
date. Others have been purchased for us, but yours is used all of the
time. It is simple to program, easy to use and the voice that
results from the unit is clear and understandable to the end user -
the Arabic vessels that we encounter each day"
22nd MEU Testing Results
"The Marines who employed the VRT give it credit for being a very
rugged unit that can stand the rigors of being a permanent part of
battle gear, getting bumped and dropped, and still function properly."
"It was exposed to extreme heat in excess of 95 degrees with greater
than 80 percent humidity. It weathered rain and thunderstorms for up
to one hour in the open. It shows no signs of problem."
Metro Nashville Police Department
"The IWT device responds well in high background noise where other
speech recognition systems would not work at all."
Kenneth Pence, Captain
Voice ResponseTranslator is the only combat proven, eyes-free, hands-
free voice recognition system allowing a user to maintain situational
awareness and weapons readiness.
Imagine you're a soldier in Baghdad, don't speak Arabic and you must
shout a command to a pack of angry-looking insurgents: "Drop your
weapons!" You could fire warning shots, or take out a handheld
computer and use a stylus to scroll through a list of preprogrammed
phrases on a touchscreen and then flip the device around to show
enemy combatants the command in Arabic. Not what you want to do in a
hostile situation or combat zone.
MilTrans VRT tactical eyes-free, hand-free one and a half way voice
translator is the solution. The device is stand alone; MICH/ACH
Integrated; or Integrated into Headset with Phased Array System and
Applications include providing instructions during force protection,
house/vehicle searches, combat patrol, civil aid missions, entry
control duty, basic medical triage, ship boarding and prison control.
Integrated Wave Technologies, (IWT)
MilTrans VRT is produced by IWT, a Fremont, CA-based company, that
specializes in the development and production of miniaturized speech
recognition devices that work in high noise environments.
IWT was founded in 1992 by Silicon Valley pioneer John H. Hall, who
developed the first successful electronic watch, the first
computerized heart pacemaker, the first radiation-hardened computer
and other civilian and defense electronics systems.
The 11-ounce VRT was developed over the past 12 years with National
Institute of Justice and Defense Department funding and has been
field tested, receiving strong positive feedback from Police, Green
Berets, SEALs, Rangers, Marines, USCG personnel and others in combat
deployment and law enforcement tactical missions.
IWT continues to develop speech recognition technology in the
advancement of miniaturized tools for military, medical, and law
enforcement personnel facing language barriers today. Read more
MilTrans VRT is the next generation of voice recognition technology
from Integrated Wave Technologies (IWT),a high technology company
focusing exclusively on sound analysis-related R&D, marketing and
production. MilTrans high-power processors provide precision eyes-
free, hands-free capability, along with flexible foreign language
recognition and continued low power consumption.
Integrated Wave Technologies (IWT) develops all software and hardware
internally and concurrently for MilTrans VRTs. Software and hardware
complement each other and create synergies with respect to accuracy,
noise immunity, size and power consumption. Each generation VRT
builds on successful design work of previous generations while
advancing the state of the art.
IWT Founder's Background
John Hall has nearly 40 years of semiconductor design work and over
60 fundamental patents, including pioneering work in low-power CMOS
integrated circuit technology.
He co-founded Intersil with Fairchild Eight member Dr. Jean Hoerni
and led all technical development there.
He has developed advanced electronics for medical, military,
telecommunications and other industries. His decisive technological
advantages to cutting-edge devices include:
CMOS technology and electronic watch application (Seiko);
First computerized heart pacemaker (Medtronic)
First electronic camera shutter (Canon)
First printing calculator (Seiko)
First pocket pager types (Harris, Kokusai)
Cellular phone technology (Nokia)
First Radiation-Hardened Computer
First Dielectric Isolation IC
Developed Low Cost Chip Assembly for B-1b Bomber Phased Array Radar
Assembly for Westinghouse Defense Systems
Infrared Focal Plane Sensor Array for Aerojet General
Investment Growth Opportunities
Integrated Wave Technologies, Inc. (IWT), is a high technology
company that focuses exclusively on sound analysis-related R&D,
marketing and production. The company is based in Fremont,
California, and it has additional research facilities in St.
Petersburg, Russia. It has acquired highly advanced sound analysis
technology from sources in the former Soviet Union and has adapted
and advanced this technology in its own research facilities. These
facilities are capable of software development, prototype
development, and custom-designed chip fabrication.
The company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is John H. Hall.
Hall has over 30 years of advanced electronics research experience
and has made significant contributions to advancements in the state-
of-the-art both in basic semiconductor technology and in chip-based
applications of this technology. Among his innovations are the first
low-voltage CMOS chip, a design that Seiko purchased and mass
produced beginning in 1970. Hall has continued to make advancements
in CMOS and other electronics technology in both commercial and
classified defense programs.
Hall has significant experience in managing start-up high-technology
companies. He was co-founder of Intersil with Fairchild Eight member
Jean Hoerni in 1968, heading its research and development, with work
that included a breakthrough in coating silicon oxide gates with
phosphorous glass and creating the first practical metal oxide
semiconductor (MOS) processes. Intersil also developed the first N
Channel memory chip, which was later adopted as an industry standard.
Hall founded Micro Power Systems in 1971 with work that included low-
power CMOS integrated circuit designs that he used in the first
computerized programmable heart pacemaker and the first electronic
camera shutter, the first low-cost ICs highly resistant to nuclear
radiation, stationary phased array radar systems, frequency
synthesizers, handheld digital voltmeters, portable LCD calculators,
molybdenum gate MOS process used for cellular phone construction, and
the first one-chip analog-to-digital converters. While he was
president of MPS from 1971 to 1986, the company grew at an average
rate of 25 percent a year with no external debt or equity funding.
From 1986 to the present, Hall has been Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of Linear Integrated Systems, Inc., specializing in bipolar
linear and high-speed CMOS digital circuits.
IWT has developed several new voice-related technologies that are
uniquely effective for certain highly demanding applications. The
first technology is a voice recognition algorithm and related
implementation technology. The second is a biometric technology that
allows for the precise identification of individuals. The third
technology is a speech compression technology that allows for voice
recordings to be contained in vastly smaller digital files.
These technologies are not merely superior to those of other
companies. They cross performance thresholds that will allow them to
be the basis of new products and new markets. In addition to
securing ownership of the algorithms, IWT has pursued an aggressive
strategy of developing essential implementation technologies. The
Company is in the process of completing patent application
documentation for these technologies and believes that the resulting
patents will prevent competitors from developing similarly capable
These technologies also can be combined with existing innovations
such as the Universal Serial Bus standard and emerging ones such as
the Bluetooth radio frequency interface standard to become important
integrated parts of the next generation of computing systems.
Several new market opportunities are based upon IWT's ability to
build very compact, low-cost devices that recognize all languages,
dialects and impairments in speech in environments with loud and
unpredictable background noise. The core technology was developed in
the former Soviet Union in a atmosphere where expensive and
complicated resources were limited. Russian scientists were forced
to use inferior (by Western standards) computing machinery. To get
results, they had to rely on elegant, yet parsimonious, algorithms to
achieve comparable results being accomplished in the West with more
powerful computers. IWT acquired the applicable rights to this
technology in 1994 and continues to fund related research.
There are two characteristics that differentiate this voice
recognition technology from those available in the United States.
First, the Soviet technology uses sound analysis to recognize
commands. Western systems use phonemes -- parcels of speech -- to
recognize words through approximate comparisons and probability
analysis. Each vowel or consonant or blend sound heard by the
computer is matched to a template of phonemes. These phonemes are
assembled and matched to possible words. But the phoneme-based
systems have a high error-substitution rate and are highly
susceptible to interference from background noise.
IWT's system analyzes the frequency and energy characteristics of the
sounds rather than the phonemes. This allows IWT to match sounds
directly and precisely to templates of voice commands and also to
distinguish the voice command sounds from all types of background
noise, even other human speech.
The second characteristic is the highly efficient architecture of the
Soviet algorithm. Software based on this algorithm can run on
relatively modest hardware -- a 286 processor compared with Pentiums
require for Western voice recognition systems -- which means that IWT
has been able to create systems that are vastly smaller, more power
efficient and cheaper than systems relying on Western systems. The
algorithm can be embedded in a single chip, which can then be
integrated directly into devices where voice command is desired.
Western systems were forces to rely on large, costly laptop Pentium
computers that use a significant amount of power to integrate voice
command into other systems.
Based upon these two characteristics, IWT has been able to create new
market opportunities by meeting the stringent requirements of
carefully selected applications. Currently available voice
recognition systems are unable to meet the demands of these
applications, and IWT's technical success can create a monopoly in
these specific areas. IWT has worked closely with federal government
technology managers, federal laboratory engineers, university
technology application specialists, industry experts and non-profit
organization experts to ensure ability of its voice recognition to
meet the requirements of these market opportunities.
IWT adopted this strategy of pursuing high-end, demanding
requirements unmet by current voice recognition systems after
determining that the poor performance of devices put on the market by
other companies had created a negative image of all voice recognition
systems in the minds of many computer users. These projects both
create important products and benchmark this technology as being
clearly superior to all other voice recognition. IWT believes that
after it demonstrates its capabilities through demanding, high-
profile applications, it will be able to sell applications for
general use, either through computer manufacturers or as discrete
items through software and hardware retailers.
IWT has developed prototypes for five such initial applications,
including two selected over all other voice recognition systems for
use in federal law enforcement technology programs by high-level
review panels. Though some of these applications are for small niche
markets, they were chosen because the technology is transferable
easily to mass-market products such as personal digital
The first application is plug-in speech recognition for personal
digital assistants such as the Handspring Visor. IWT can provide
near-perfect speech recognition for command/control and data entry
for these devices in a compact package interfacing easily with the
The second application is a "caddy" to allow portable cellular phones
to be used with voice commands in vehicles. IWT's prototype is the
first device to be miniaturized to fit within the existing form
factor for non-voice command caddies already in use and the first to
work in the high noise environment that characterizes most vehicles.
The target market is the general population, with sales conducted
through phone service providers, phone manufacturers and automobile
electronic aftermarket retail outlets. IWT believes that the
substantial expected market penetration could be boosted by pending
state and federal safety legislation. This legislation would make it
illegal to use cellular phones while driving a vehicle and likely
would be passed with an exception for voice-command units. Fully
developed prototypes have been built and production would begin six
months to one year after receiving funding.
This application was selected by a National Institute of Justice peer
review panel for funding with respect to providing voice-command
cellular phones patrol officers in cars, on motorcycles and on
bicycles. This testing effort, which for the first time provides
voice command telecommunications for these high-noise environments,
The IWT recognition technology has an additional characteristic
important for this application and others. Section 255 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996 has laid out soon-to-be-enforced
requirements for telecommunications equipment to be accessible to and
usable by people with disabilities, if it readily achievable for a
manufacturer to make it so. IWT's algorithm is uniquely capable of
recognizing impaired speech. The United Cerebral Palsy Association
has endorsed IWT's speech recognition for this application, as have
Senate Small Business Committee Chair Bond and Senate Aging
Committee. IWT is also working with the President's Committee on
Employment of Persons with Disabilities with respect to applications
of this technology. IWT believes that these already enacted laws
will provide it with a significant competitive advantage.
IWT's unique cellular voice command capability would have
significance in the event that concerns over electromagnetic
radiation bioeffects prove to have merit. Studies have indicated
correlation between the 0.5 to 2 watt electromagnetic transmissions
from hand-held cellular phones and brain cancer, though these studies
are disputed by the cellular phone industry and others. At a
distance of one meter or more from the transmission antenna, however,
the signals fall to a level that all parties agree is safe. Use of
voice command would allow for cellphone use that would allay concerns
over electromagnetic safety.
The third application is a belt-mounted, voice command language
translation device, the first such technology ever produced. The
translator plays pre-recorded translations of selected foreign
language phrases when commanded by a police officer's voice. This
translator is being tested by the Oakland Police Department in a
program funded by the Justice Department's National Institute of
Justice Science and Technology Office. The test device has over 500
phrases, each in three foreign languages. This device's target
market is the 600,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the U.S.
Other markets to be targeted initially include emergency medical
technicians, U.S. military personnel and foreign police and armed
forces. The translator is ready for mass production.
It is important to note that the Justice Department listed voice
command translation as one of the top priorities for law enforcement
technology development after years of extensive surveys of local
police departments. The Department awarded IWT grants totally
approximately $950,000 to develop this application based on its
conclusion that the IWT system would provide a unique, effective
solution to a critical law enforcement problem.
The fourth application involves plug-in voice-command interfaces for
desktop/laptop/palm computers. These devices would provide highly
capable voice command-and-control capability that interfaces with
computers through their Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports in the case
of desktops and laptops, and through the serial interface of palm
This approach has several significant advantages over running the
voice recognition on these computers. First, by creating plug-in
stand-alone hardware/software packages, users don't need to load the
software onto their computer. Second, this approach allows IWT to
bypass the computer's sound card and control aspects of sound
process. Most sound cards are unsuited for the delicate task of
speech recognition, and this approach allows for unprecedented
accuracy. Third, this approach allows users to use their voice
control device on various computers at work and home. While this is
important for all persons, it is especially so for disabled persons
and will allow for this application to be promoted by the Section 508
provisions. Fourth, this allows IWT to prevent unauthorized use,
piracy, of its software.
This application involves assistive technology for disabled persons
with impaired speech. Two years of demonstrations and tests with a
physical therapy center for such persons has shown that IWT's voice
recognition technology has a unique capability to recognize impaired
speech accurately. Devices developed to the prototype stage are
units to convert impaired speech voice commands into recognizable
English and command-and-control units for use with televisions,
telephones and computers. This would allow speech-impaired disabled
persons to lead more productive work lives and more independent home
lives. The target market is the approximately 10 million persons who
suffer varying degrees of disabilities and speech impairs as the
result of conditions such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson's Disease, Acquired Brain Injury, strokes, epilepsy and
IWT is testing new prototypes with the Cerebral Palsy Association of
Greater St. Louis. The national United Cerebral Palsy Association
has evaluated this technology also and has promised to market devices
produced through the 160 member associations and also through its
Internet catalog of assistive devices. IWT is confident that once
produced, this technology will become a standard for "reasonable
accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and will be required for
use in workplaces and schools for disabled persons with and without
IWT anticipates the market for services and high-technology hardware
for disabled persons to be a significant business area. Some 52
million non-institutionalized Americans experience some form of
disability that impairs their performance of daily activities. While
many of these disabilities are relatively minor, approximately 26
million Americans are "severely" disabled.
According to marketing date taken from recent studies by FIND/SVP, a
25-year-old worldwide research and consulting firm, this market is
now estimated to be $796 billion and will top $1 trillion in the next
five years. Functional limitations affect 36 million persons, and
work disabilities affect 17 million.
The adoption of IWT's voice command capability as a reasonable
workplace accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act
will add to this market size. The majority of people with
disabilities are of working age, but only one-third of disabled
persons are employed and most of these are in blue-collar
occupations. Employed people with disabilities earn less than their
peers. Voice command will open new areas of employment in high-tech,
computer-based jobs. This will offer new opportunities for many
large groups. For example, visual impairments affect more than 10
million, and more than two million have impaired speech.
The fifth application is for portable and desk-mounted voice command
assistance for computer programming and application modification.
IWT's near-100% accuracy rate allows it to be used to insert pre-
packaged parcels of computer code during programming. This allows
programmers to increase their productivity significantly and to an
extent far greater than if "hot keys" are used for code parcel
insertion (12 hot keys versus an unlimited number of voice commands
that would probably be set at 1,000). An ongoing demonstration
project being conducted by IWT in conjunction with a computer network
maintenance company has shown that the time needed for a typical
network software upgrade was reduced from six hours to one-and-a-half
hours. The target market would be companies that perform computer
programming and application modification. This capability would have
to be sold on a case-by-case basis for many users, and IWT is seeking
to form a partnership with a larger company that focuses on providing
IWT's selection of highly credible partners and/or advisors in each
of the application areas means that its ability to serve these
markets has been validated by credible experts. This will assist any
potential investor greatly with respect to due diligence evaluations
and in the eventual marketing and sales of these products.
By Xeni Jardin
Tech Solutions to Iraqi-U.S. Language Barrier
Day to Day, November 13, 2006 · Part of the daily struggle for
soldiers and Marines in Iraq is communicating with civilians and
suspected insurgents. Few military personnel have enough fluency with
Iraqi Arabic to be easily understood, and field translators are in
But technology may help close that communications gap. A hand-held
voice translator device developed by Integrated Wave Technologies,
already in use in other parts of the world, converts simple English
commands into Iraqi Arabic or 15 other languages.
When the soldier says a simple phrase -- for example, "keep kids
back" -- the Voice Response Translator (VRT) matches that command to
a more complex phrase in Arabic. In this case: "Keep your children
back from us or we will take action against you."
Integrated Wave Technologies President Tim McCune says simple
communications like these can save lives, both among Iraqi civilians
and military personnel. "This removes pulling the trigger as the
first option in dealing with foreign nationals," he says.
Dr. Mari Maeda, a researcher at the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA) says the government has spent $15 to $20
million a year over the past five years developing the mobile
translator technology, because there aren't enough human translators
to go around. Critics say the Defense Department should instead spend
its dollars training troops how to speak Arabic or other languages.
One advantage of these portable translation devices is that they can
be programmed by a local interpreter to fit different missions. John
Hall, president of Annapolis-based Voxtech International, makes a
similar device called the Phraselator.
Hall believes technology can help a military unit make better use of
one human interpreter. "You don't have to keep [the translator] there
in potential harm's way all the time," he says.
What soldiers say they really could use are small, hands-free devices
that translate speech in both directions, as people talk to them.
DARPA has some early prototypes of such a device, but they are at
least a decade away from being combat-ready.
First Ears, Then Hearts and Minds
Facing Shortage of Arabic Interpreters, Pentagon Seeks a
By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
For science-fiction buffs, it's probably a common-sense solution. Two
months after arriving in Iraq, a second lieutenant with the 16th
Military Police Brigade was handed the Phraselator, a hand-held
device that promised to digest his English phrases and produce a
prerecorded Arabic translation with an Iraqi accent.
But after a brief test last year, the soldier gave up the gadget,
deciding that, while helpful in some instances, it wasn't useful to
his unit, which conducted raids and provided convoy security. He had
even tried to teach himself Arabic using the device but decided that
it was no match for the complex language. Even such simple phrases
as "What is your name?" are spoken differently in Fallujah than in
Baghdad, he found. "This may have been the reason why many of the
Iraqis . . . did not appear to understand the Arabic phrases & words"
stored in the device, according to a report prepared for the Army.
An Annapolis firm, VoxTec International Inc., developed the device
and said it has steadily made improvements. But the goal of having a
machine replace a human interpreter remains elusive, and the military
is mounting a multimillion-dollar campaign to find a more capable
successor, one that can translate both sides of a conversation, from
English to Arabic and vice versa.
"What people would really like is that 'Star Trek' universal
communicator, but it doesn't exist yet," said Lynne McCann, former
chief of the Army Foreign Language Proponency Office. "That would
The stakes are high for the military, which suffers from such a
shortage of interpreters that it has had to rely increasingly on
contractors -- 6,500 in Iraq and 1,500 in Afghanistan. It can be a
dangerous job. Of the 648 contractors killed in Iraq since the war
began in March 2003, 153 worked for the division of L-3
Communications Corp. that currently holds the linguist contract,
according to Labor Department figures.
Battlefields often turn into impromptu laboratories for new
technologies -- with mixed results. During the Persian Gulf War in
1991, the Patriot anti-missile system was rushed into combat to
intercept Iraqi scuds, but afterward, investigators questioned its
effectiveness. The Predator, an unmanned drone, dropped Hellfire
missiles after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, after a quick
In the same way, VoxTec, which was a unit within Marine Acoustics
Inc., was asked to rush production of its Phraselator, then a single
prototype, shortly after the attacks on New York's World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, said Ace Sarich, the company's vice president of
development. The device is about the size of a large personal digital
assistant and is programmed with about 700 Arabic phrases that can be
recalled after it "hears" the equivalent English phrase or a soldier
chooses a sentence from a text list on the device.
The company shipped 20 to Afghanistan within a few months, but the
prototypes had bugs, including buttons that were hard to push and
faulty batteries. "It was supposed to be a weatherproof design, and
it leaked like a sieve," Sarich said. Those issues have all been
addressed, he added.
While VoxTec continued to improve the device, the military began
testing a device made by a California company, Integrated Wave
Technologies Inc. It had developed a similar hands-free version of a
translation machine that fit into an ammunition pouch, allowing
soldiers to say key phrases that are then turned into full Arabic
"You say 'house search' and then it will say in Arabic: 'We're here
to search your house. Please stay in this room. Do you have any
weapons?'" said Tim McCune, the company's president.
Over the past few years, Integrated Wave Technologies has produced
1,300 of its machines and VoxTec has made 5,000 devices. They cost
about $2,500 to $3,000 apiece, a mini-boom for two companies that
have fewer than 20 employees each.
Neither product, however, proved robust enough to replace human
interpreters. What soldiers really needed, the military decided, was
to have a conversation with the people they encounter, not just give
"In years past, there wasn't a great need for the individual soldier
to speak a foreign language to do his mission," said Wayne Richards,
branch chief for technology implementation at U.S. Joint Forces
Command. But in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers are increasingly
interacting with Iraqi civilians, giving advice at checkpoints or
guidance during home searches, he said.
"During those door-to-door searches, the soldiers need to be able to
calm them down and reassure them," Richards said. "We're fighting for
hearts and minds. But if I can't tell her, 'Ma'am, please calm
down,' . . . that wouldn't be assuring."
So the Pentagon turned to the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA), which helped develop the Internet, to enlist some
technology powerhouses, setting aside $20.8 million this year for
translation technologies. Military officials said they do not expect
the automated devices to completely replace human interpreters but to
augment them. DARPA was a natural fit to lead the project because it
has spent the past two years creating a database of thousands of
hours of Iraqi conversations to study the voices, speech patterns and
commonly used phrases to help with speech-recognition software.
The agency selected SRI International, a nonprofit research group,
International Business Machines Corp., and Carnegie Mellon University
in Pittsburgh to help put that database to work.
Each of the three has developed systems that use mathematical
algorithms to interpret speech, even if it is slurred, accented or
muffled, into Arabic and the Arabic response into English. After a
second or two, a synthesized male voice produces a response. The
systems usually require speakers to limit their conversations to one
sentence at a time to avoid confusion.
IBM announced this month that 35 units of its system had been shipped
to Iraq, saying it would "facilitate quick" communication. The
military is not quite as optimistic.
The systems are being tested only in offices or benign situations
with limited background noise, military officials said.
The technology is "just not ready for wide deployment," said Mari
Maeda, program manager in DARPA's Information Processing Technology
Office. "The translation system is not good enough; the recognition
software is not strong enough."
The systems are also not accurate enough, she said. IBM estimates
that its system has an accuracy rate of 85 to 90 percent, and that
out of 30 phrases, a person may need to repeat four or five. SRI and
Carnegie Mellon officials said they couldn't provide comparable
figures. But "soldiers are looking for things that work 95 percent of
the time," Maeda said.
In the meantime, companies are also experimenting with lower-tech
solutions. VoxTec, for instance, is testing a call-a-translator
system in Baghdad that allows soldiers to call in from the field so
they can put an Iraqi on the phone with one of two Arabic translators
on duty who can act as an intermediary.
Integrated Wave Technologies says it may have another interim
solution. It is developing a system, which DARPA says it may send to
Iraq next year, that will enable limited two-way conversations
by "listening" for key words, said McCunne, the company's president.
But even that, he acknowledges, has problems.
"If you ask, 'What color was the car?' it will be looking for
something like blue or red," he said. But if the person responds by
asking which car or says he didn't see a car, the system will not be
able to translate, McCunne said. "It's a fairly limited type of
communication," he added.