iPhone Translation App Will Add Afghan Languages

By Eric Beidel
A New Jersey-based company that has developed speech translator applications for the iPhone is turning its attention to languages that would be useful to the military.

SpeechTrans Inc.’s applications already translate between common languages such as English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. Now the company is working with Massachusetts-based firm Nuance to add Pashtu, Dari and other languages widely spoken in Afghanistan. SpeechTrans recently showed its technology to military leaders at a Pentagon language convention.

“It would be a great match for our military,” said CEO John Frei, who compared it to the universal translator used on television’s Star Trek. It already would come in handy to service members deployed across Europe, but the ultimate goal is to add languages that troops need in current combat zones, he said.

SpeechTrans works with voice or text. A user can speak or type a phrase and have it repeated through audio or text in another language. Its developers say it is more than 90 percent accurate.

Topics: International, Science and Engineering Technology

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