Army science, technology team advances language translation in Africa

Members of the Zambian Defense Force march with U.S. Army soldiers during the opening day ceremony for Exercise Southern Accord in Lusaka, Zambia on Aug. 4. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball)

Members of the Zambian Defense Force march with U.S. Army soldiers during the opening day ceremony for Exercise Southern Accord in Lusaka, Zambia on Aug. 4. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 5, 2015) — A U.S. Army team is testing and helping to develop a language translator to enable Soldiers communicate with their African counterparts.

Improving the ability of American service members to communicate in foreign languages, particularly in French dialects, is becoming critical in Africa, said Maj. Eddie Strimel, the Field Assistance in Science and Technology, or FAST, advisor assigned to U.S. Army Africa, or USARAF.

U.S. Soldiers conduct training and exercises regularly in about 20 of Africa’s 54 countries, he said.

“We believe Africa is a future frontier for technology in the next 10 to 15 years. French is a priority for us. If we can get these dialects developed with this type of system, it will benefit the Army, Air Force and Marines down the road,” he said.

FAST advisors, both uniformed officers and Army civilians, are a link between Soldiers in the field and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s subject matter experts.

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