U.S. Soldiers Testing Android Translation App in Afghanistan

Image: Defence Talk

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a part of the Department of Defense charged with supplying cutting edge technological options for the entire Department, is currently beta-testing a mobile translation app called Translation System for Tactical Use (TRANSTAC). The app “provides sentence and phrase translation on an easy-to-use, hand-held smart phone.” The Nexus One seen in the photo on Defence Talk would lead one to believe they are using Android as their mobile platform of choice.

“The smart phones have the capability to translate from one language to another and give both speakers the ability to have their sentences translated back and forth, allowing two people speaking different languages to hold a conversation.”

(Sounds a lot like the Conversation Mode feature that Google Translate recently added, doesn’t it?)

Are you surprised to hear the Department of Defense is using Android in the field? How else could they leverage the next generation of Android devices?

  • Not really surprising, Department of the Army wants to evaluate issuing soldiers smartphones later this year.

  • obhs

    the only surprise is to find out how long it took them. It’s a great feature and works well in US, epseically where you have decent data pipe, at least 3G.
    THE biggest problem with Google is the speech engine is located in the clouds. So when you don’t have internet (i.e. when traveling in Europe/Russia with ridicioulous rouming fees and when really need that translation engine) not only it doesn’t work, NONE of the apps work since they use the built in Google speech recognition.

  • Joerg Michael

    No, not surprised at all. This has been going on since at least the beginning of 2010. Google “Apps for Army”. Here’s a page from the army about previous apps.

  • bousozoku

    The problem with this is that using an incorrect translation could get you killed but it’s better than not having a human interpreter with you, most likely.