March 08, 2004

Multilingual Instant Messaging in Iraq

According to this press release from the Office of Naval Research, a recently deployed communications system combining Instant Messaging with machine translation is receiving rave reviews from soldiers in Iraq. It is said to allow speakers of English, Arabic, Polish, Ukrainian, and Spanish to communicate with each other. If it really is improving communication, that's good, but I hope that the machine translation is better than some of the systems out there. This is a situation in which a bad translation could literally get somebody killed.

Here's an example of what can go wrong.

Posted by Bill Poser at March 8, 2004 02:38 PM