Translation technology sought by USCG

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 02 March 2020


Start-ups able to deliver a language translator are being sought by the USCG in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).

The USCG requires a language translator that can rapidly and effectively communicate in real time with non-English speakers and those who are unable to communicate verbally. In a variety of rescue and investigation missions, USCG boarding teams must be able to communicate with vessel occupants who may not speak English or, in many cases, speak multiple languages. Accurate and swift translation of orders and directions are critical to the safety and security of the boarding team and the vessel occupants. Off-line capability is necessary because many USCG interactions where translation devices are required are far out at sea, in extreme environmental conditions and in locations without cell service or internet connections.

“A language translation technology that is fast, accurate and easy to understand and operate would enhance USCG mission capabilities,” said Wendy Chaves, USCG Chief of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation and Innovation. “Once deployed, this device would automatically identify numerous languages, translate and display conversations in real time so USCG staff and the public they serve can understand each other more quickly and accurately.”

“DHS is committed to using cutting-edge technologies and scientific talent in its quest to make America safer,” said Melissa Oh, SVIP Managing Director. “The USCG operates in extremely remote areas and under some of the most challenging environmental conditions, and this innovative technology would significantly improve USCG mission capabilities and public safety.”

On behalf of DHS Operational Components, SVIP invests in start-up companies with viable technologies suitable for rapid prototyping projects from across the nation and around the world to adapt, develop and harness cutting-edge capabilities that are commercially sustainable while simultaneously meeting the needs of DHS operational components and programs.

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