CIA pumps capital into linguistics software

CIA pumps capital into linguistics software

In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm, has invested in Basis Technology Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., which sells multilingual linguistic analysis, text mining and information retrieval software.

In-Q-Tel licensed Basis products and provided a strategic investment, but neither organization disclosed the terms or dollar value of the transaction. 'A typical In-Q-Tel deal is between $1 million and $3 million,' In-Q-Tel spokeswoman Stephanie Stern said.

Jonathan Joseph, the In-Q-Tel associate responsible for the project, called the suite of products 'very interesting.' Known as the Rosette globalization platform, it performs morphological analysis'breaking down words into component parts, among other tasks.

The software suite 'separates the word worked into work and -ed,' Joseph said. 'We all know about the volume problem' of translating foreign languages, he said. 'Basis automates the translation. Google.com, for example, counts as one of Basis' customers, and there is a small number of competitors.'

In-Q-Tel chose Basis for investment after reviewing other companies in the field. 'We [found] their technology to be the strongest,' Joseph said. 'It automates a significant portion of the legwork in translation, which is a very difficult problem to solve.'

Basis CEO Carl Hoffman said in an announcement that 'providing linguistic solutions to help government organizations deal with massive collections of data has become a significant aspect of our business.'


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