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News Release: DHS S&T Seeks Language Translator for USCG Missions

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News Release: DHS S&T Seeks Language Translator for USCG Missions

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), is looking for start-ups to develop or adapt a language translator that functions in a maritime operational environment. A new Language Translator solicitation was posted today.

SVIP and USCG will host a  Homeland Security Day on March 4, 2020, in Menlo Park, California from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST to discuss the Language Translator solicitation and other current USCG operational needs. To register for the event, visit

The USCG requires a language translator that can rapidly and effectively communicate in real time with non-English speakers and those who are unable to communicate verbally. In a variety of rescue and investigation missions, USCG boarding teams must be able to communicate with vessel occupants who may not speak English or, in many cases, speak multiple languages. Accurate and swift translation of orders and directions are critical to the safety and security of the boarding team and the vessel occupants. Off-line capability is necessary because many USCG interactions where translation devices are required are far out at sea, in extreme environmental conditions and in locations without cell service or internet connections.

“A language translation technology that is fast, accurate and easy to understand and operate would enhance USCG mission capabilities,” said Wendy Chaves, U.S. Coast Guard Chief of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation and Innovation. “Once deployed, this device would automatically identify numerous languages, translate and display conversations in real time so USCG staff and the public they serve can understand each other more quickly and accurately.”

“DHS is committed to using cutting-edge technologies and scientific talent in its quest to make America safer,” said Melissa Oh, SVIP Managing Director. “The USCG operates in extremely remote areas and under some of the most challenging environmental conditions, and this innovative technology would significantly improve USCG mission capabilities and public safety.”

On behalf of DHS Operational Components, SVIP invests in start-up companies with viable technologies suitable for rapid prototyping projects from across the nation and around the world to adapt, develop and harness cutting-edge capabilities that are commercially sustainable while simultaneously meeting the needs of DHS operational components and programs.

For more information on current and future SVIP solicitations, visit or contact



U.S. Department of Homeland Security · · 202-282-8000