unset($_SESSION['OmniStatsList']); } ?>
Feb 16, 2012
In the last year or so several highly mobile devices have been developed that allow instant vocal translations form one language to another. Google Translate and BBN TransTalk are two examples of this technology that was once only part of a science fiction plot. Each device has specific languages that it can translate to and from but all of the available devices are actively working on adding new languages all the time. The technology isn’t perfect yet but can you imagine the possibilities? For the rest of the blog I’ll be referring to these types of devices with the phrase ‘universal translator’ because I am a sci-fi geek and it makes me happy.
Let’s say you are trying to interview witnesses but you come to a woman who speaks no English. You are pretty sure she is speaking Czech. You take out your universal translator and you have an instant description of the suspect rather than having to wait for a human translator to be located and brought in. Because you knew who you were looking for sooner you are able to catch him before he gets out of town with his stolen Renaissance painting.
Or let’s say you pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation but they don’t understand what you are asking them to do. Perhaps they even start to become hysterical because of the way law enforcement officials behave in their home country. You supply your universal translator and all of a sudden they know their turn signal isn’t working and they need to have it repaired as soon as possible. A situation that could have turned into a 10 car pileup when the driver crossed traffic without a signal is nothing more than a blip in your day.
Yes, my examples are a bit funny and I realize that most law enforcement officials do not have to worry about finding a translator on a daily basis, at least not in my area. This is why finding those translators can be so difficult. There are at least 165 languages spoken in the United States, do you really think you could find a translator to come down and talk to a witness or suspect for each of them? You might, but it would probably take a long time; that’s why this technology is so exciting.
Are you using a universal translator already in your department? Have you seen any immediate benefits? If you aren’t using it yet are you anxious to or do you think it would be a waste of department funds?
Your vote has been counted.
|I have always carried off-duty (68%)|
|I didn't carry in past years, but now do so (20%)|
|I don't carry off-duty, but realize it's something I should do (27%)|