The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), together with Basis Technology, have partnered to eliminate the difficulties in transliterating names of foreign persons and places into Intelligence Community (IC) standards. Through a multi-year program, licenses to the Highlight language analysis suite are available to all IC elements.
Linguists with near-native proficiency in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, and Pashto and the appropriate government clearances will always be scarce. Even after culling intelligence to just the critical documents, people can never translate fast enough to meet the demand.
Highlight for linguists and analysts leverages the speed and mechanical efficiency of software to translate names or tediously long name lists in seconds—in perfect compliance with government transliteration standards. This power frees human translators to concentrate on the more idiosyncratic skill of translating sentences and paragraphs.
Different government agencies use different transliteration standards for turning Arabic, Dari (an Afghani dialect of Persian), Farsi, or Pashto names into English. Remembering and applying each standard correctly is error-prone and tedious (at best) for a person. As a computer-assisted translation application, Highlight’s Transliteration Assistant effortlessly transforms names from the native script to English according to the chosen standard.
In Iraq, Transliteration Assistant was used to convert some 93,000 Arabic names from poorly translated English back to the original Arabic and then checked by just three linguists in seven days, a production increase of over 300%.
The Windows-based Highlight suite has been adopted by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency for widespread use by linguists and analysts in the intelligence community to ensure consistent spelling of names to agency standards and promote inter-agency collaboration. Using Highlight, translators of Arabic, Dari, Farsi, and Pashto are able to increase the speed of their translations while also improving the quality of name translations. Appearing as an additional ribbon in Word and Excel, Highlight is extremely easy to use.
Arabic-English dictionary, word lists, gazetteers (place name databases), and the CIA’s Chiefs of State database are available to users with a click of a mouse. Highlight allows for “fuzzy” searching and the ability to upload agency unique glossaries or reference names.
Names of places in the Middle East can be translated and annotated with geographic coordinates or quickly located on a map using Highlight’s Geoscope Map Viewer. Names to be searched can be spelled approximately and found via Geoscope Map Viewer’s fuzzy name searching capability. Geographic data for each location is provided by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
The final application of Highlight is Arabic Editor, which allows the user to type Arabic and Persian with a Western keyboard. Arabic or Persian writers can learn the easy to understand Roman input system in less than an hour.
Learn more about these applications below or contact Basis Technology for more information.