Star Performer: BBN Technologies

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Prior to its acquisition by Raytheon in the fall, BBN Technologies was already advancing the state-of-the-art in speech recognition as a prime contractor for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored Global Autonomous Language Exploitation program. That program, which is working with the U.S. military to develop translation technologies for combat troops on the ground in other parts of the world, has been taken a step further with its Multimedia Monitoring System (M3S). Previously the company’s software monitored, created transcripts of, and translated only television news broadcasts. The latest version has been expanded to include more languages and  media sources, most notably Web pages, according to Joyce Kuzmin, a BBN spokeswoman. 

From a single, unified desktop, M3S allows users to monitor, translate, store, and search a wide variety of media across a range of languages. They also can save searches in watchlists that are automatically updated as the system finds new matches, and they can manage the workflow from data collection and processing to machine-assisted translation and dissemination. 

“It can give a sense not only of how things are being reported around the world, but you can get a read on local sentiment as well,” Kuzmin explains. “It’s easier now for people to grab content and triage it.”

The solution currently handles real-time news coverage in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, U.S. and U.K. English, French, Hindi, Urdu, Persian/Farsi, and Indonesian. The Web component supports many other languages as well.

“The result is that M3S can use the limited linguistics resources more efficiently and triage content for more detailed analysis efficiently while gaining an enhanced, real-time understanding of the news, events, and responses around the world,” Kuzmin says.

Though primarily used right now by the government, there are many commercial applications for the product, according to several industry experts. The most significant is the ability of companies to monitor social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to track consumer sentiment.

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