Integrated Wave Technologies is a Fremont company that builds a translation device for U.S. soldiers in Iraq, produced 1,300 of its machines costing between $2,500 to $3,000.

Soldiers say “house search” into the machine, and it translates in Arabic: “We’re here to search your house. Please stay in this room. Do you have any weapons?”

But then the U.S. military realized what soldiers really needed was to have a conversation with the people they encounter, not just give orders. So it and other similar products haven’t proven robust enough to replace human interpreters.


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