The present work was carried out under the umbrella of BABYLON, a DARPA-driven collaboration between multiple sites to explore deployment of speech and translation technologies on portable platforms in a military/diplomatic context. Languages under investigation include Arabic (Lebanese and Egyptian), Pashto, Dari, Farsi, and Chinese.
Each participant is tasked with developing a different combination of technologies, platform, and language. The role of our team is to develop full speech-to-speech translation on a handheld device for Egyptian Arabic. That is, our device (a Compaq iPaq) hosts unrestricted ASR for both English and Arabic, a translation module, and synthesis for English and Arabic, all tuned for the medical triage domain (the domain is discussed in more detail in Section 6.1).
The eventual objective of the program is to determine which technologies and platforms show the most promise for insertion where language support is needed in sensitive environments.