SRI Wins U.S. Military Translation Technology Contract

SRI International has been awarded a $7.1 million contract for the first phase of a five-year, $41.5 million project with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"Machine translation technology has made major progress over the past decade," said Jing Zheng, leader of SRI's Broad Operational Language Translation (BOLT) initiative and program director in SRI's Speech Technology and Research (STAR) Laboratory, in a statement. "Now we will work on fundamental breakthroughs to move from memorizing the surface forms of language to understanding the underlying meanings."

SRI will lead research activities with the goal of developing systems that accurately translate foreign languages and extract information regardless of genre and media. These technologies are intended to facilitate bilingual conversations with instant interpretation and automatic clarification.

The contract falls under the BOLT program, which is an international research initiative to develop breakthrough language technologies. SRI's speech and translation work includes research under DARPA's Global Autonomous Language Exploitation program to develop computer software that translates and analyzes huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages, and under the Spoken Language Communication and Translation System for Tactical Use program to enable two-way communication between U.S. military and speakers of other languages.

SRI has a long history of delivering technologies in artificial intelligence and complex language-processing systems for DARPA. Decades of SRI research in artificial intelligence, including leadership of the largest known artificial intelligence project in U.S. history, CALO, led to the development of the virtual personal assistant technology Siri, which was acquired from SRI by Apple in 2010.

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