Robust Automatic Translation Of Speech DARPA's Universal Translator

Robust Automatic Translation of Speech is a new DARPA program to try to bring together its diverse speech translation efforts into an all-in-one package - a kind of Universal Translator.


(Star Trek Universal Translator)

Technical Area 1: Algorithmic Development and Signal Processing DARPA seeks technology, software development and speech processing algorithms in each of the four areas listed below.

1. Speech Activity Detection (SAD): The ability to determine whether a signal is actual speech or background noise, or music. See definition of segments below.
2. Language Identification (LID): Once a signal is determined to be actual speech, LID is the capability that identifies the language being spoken.
3. SpeakerIdentification(SID):Onceasignalisidentifiedasactualspeech,SIDis the capability that uniquely identifies whether the person who is speaking is one of the people identified in a list of wanted speakers.
4. Key Word Spotting (KWS): Once a signal is identified as actual speech, KWS is the capability to identify specific words or phrases from a list of items in the language being spoken.

SF loves this technology; fans recall fondly the babelfish and of course Hugo Gernsback's language rectifier.

DARPA has already created several versions of the Phraselator for use by troops.


(Phraselator P2 by VoxTec)

Within six months, DARPA wants demonstration devices that can translate between 15 different languages across a thousand different speakers.

From DARPA-BAA-10-34: Robust Automatic Transcription of Speech (RATS) and DARPA proposal (pdf).

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