Translation app lets DOD, South Korea talk shop

HONOLULU—Handheld PCs running a translation application are helping U.S. and South
Korean forces deployed in Korea bridge a language gap.


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory developed the
software that lets users speak either English or Korean into a microphone-equipped PC,
which then produces a translation.


The translation app is put to good use, Defense Department officials said late last
year at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s TechNet
Asia-Pacific ’98 conference.


Korean is classified by the State Department’s Foreign Service as a super-hard
language to learn, more difficult than Russian or Persian, both of which State classifies
as hard to learn.


“We have become bilingual in U.S. Forces Korea because we now have a large number
of Korean-Americans serving, which is a real blessing,” said Air Force Maj. Gen.
Michael Hayden, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Forces Korea.


“But that doesn’t do away with the language barrier. We’ve tried to
overcome that with technology,” he said.  



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