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Machine Foreign Language Translation System

Wednesday November 30, 2016

What is it?

The Machine Foreign Language Translation System (MFLTS) is a software application to meet the Army’s prioritized language translation requirements. MFLTS assists warfighters in communicating effectively with foreign, non-English speaking populations by providing an automated foreign speech and text language translation capability.

While it does not replace human linguist support such as interpreters and translators, MFLTS successfully augments and complements that support. As a result, warfighters may fully leverage translator and interpreter resources to aid in mission execution. Moreover, MFLTS may be employed as a “check” on the accuracy of an offered translation. The primary components of the MFLTS system are machine translation, automatic speech recognition, and optical character recognition.

What has the Army done?

The Product Director Machine Foreign Language Translation System (PD MFLTS) is a subordinate organization of the Project Manager Distributed Common Ground System – Army (PM DCGS-A). PD MFLTS manages the development and delivery of the system in support of Army and Joint Capabilities Integration Development System language translation requirements. Its software application is designed to operate on both commercially available off-the-shelf hardware and government off-the-shelf automation systems. To meet varying warfighter needs, three MFLTS software configurations are now available:

  • Web-Enabled (Distributed Common Ground System - Army, text-to-text).
  • Mobile (Army Golden Master, text-to-text, speech-to-speech).
  • Portable (Nett Warrior, speech-to-speech).

What continued efforts are planned for the future?

Applications will be developed in anticipation of, or in response to warfighter requirements. An expansion to include a speech-to-text application is planned in the near future. MFLTS will be integrated into Army tactical systems, making it readily accessible. MFLTS is currently being integrated into the DCGS-A baseline, with a planned fielding time period of late 2016 or early 2017. Additionally, a late 2016 fielding (as part of Nett Warrior) to the 1st Brigade 82nd Airborne Division was successfully completed. The 1st Brigade is the first unit equipped with MFLTS.

Why is this important to the Army?

MFLTS’s open systems architecture enables the continuous integration of additional language components to meet the Army’s ever increasing language translation requirements. As such, it directly contributes to the chief of staff of the Army’s priority of readiness by enabling warfighters to communicate and, in turn, operate effectively among non-English speaking populations globally.


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