Raytheon gets DARPA extension for translation program

Contract calls for completing IT program that automatically translates foreign-language media

BBN Technologies, a subsidiary of Raytheon Co., has been awarded an additional $17 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to complete the five-year Global Autonomous Language Exploitation program, known as GALE.

The goal of GALE, now in its final year, is to develop and apply software technologies to transcribe, translate and distill large volumes of speech and text in multiple languages – all with more than 90 percent accuracy – by the end of the program.

This capability will help U.S. analysts quickly recognize critical information in foreign languages, according to a Raytheon announcement today.

During the first four years of the program, BBN met or exceeded almost all the accuracy goals for automatic translation into English of Arabic news-related text and broadcast information, it said.

Under the contract, Raytheon BBN Technologies will further refine a translation system developed under previous awards and continue to improve translations of speech and text from Arabic and Chinese news sources.

The Raytheon BBN Technologies team’s approach combines the output transcriptions and translations from multiple systems to obtain a translation that is better than any of the component system translations.

The Raytheon BBN Technologies GALE team – which includes BBN speech and language scientists and researchers from a dozen institutions in the U.S. and abroad –  is using automatic adaptation and contextually aware processing at all system levels to optimize performance across different languages, dialects, topics, speakers and semantic nuances to deliver the relevant information, the announcement said.

“DARPA's GALE program is already responsible for many great advances in machine translation, and BBN has deployed systems for monitoring live broadcasts in foreign languages in more than two dozen locations,” Tad Elmer, president of Raytheon BBN Technologies, said in the announcement.

Raytheon Co., of Waltham, Mass., ranks No. 4 on Washington Technology’s 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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