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Spoken Translation™ Unveils World’s First Software for Reliable Translation of Extensive Written or Spoken Conversations


For Immediate Release

Spoken Translation™ Unveils World’s

First Software for Reliable Translation of

Extensive Written or Spoken Conversations


Converser for Healthcare™ provides 24/7 live interpreting – an affordable means of reducing costs and liabilities associated with serious blunders by non-professional interpreters.

San Francisco, Calif., – February 21, 2007 Spoken Translation, Inc., the worldwide developer of ground-breaking technology for cross-lingual communication, today introduced Converser for Healthcare at a press conference at the renowned SpeechTEK speech technology conference in San Francisco.

Converser is a system for two-way translated communication between limited-English-speaking patients and English-speaking caregivers. The system allows people who do not speak the same language to hold broad health-related conversations in real time, without a human interpreter. It addresses a major pain-point in healthcare organizations: low budgets for patient communication and interpreting services. Converser gives medical institutions a translation solution that not only significantly reduces costs but improves overall patient safety, helping to eliminate numerous grave errors made by non-professional human interpreters.

Converser represents a fundamental advance in Machine Translation (MT) technology. No other system on the market today can provide reliable, bi-directional, real-time, wide-ranging translation via multiple interface modalities including speech recognition.

To improve translation accuracy and enhance the user experience, Converser provides reverse (or back-) translations and permits verification and selection of word definitions to ensure that the translation is “what you mean to say.” Never before has a commercial product for conversational translation enabled a user to verify in real time that the translation is accurate, and, if not, to correct it on the spot. By allowing even monolingual users to monitor and guide translations as they happen, Converser promotes understanding of and trust in its translations, even in wide-ranging conversations. Monolinguals are thus empowered in multilingual settings, achieving an unprecedented degree of control. Other software products usable for real-time translation (e.g. free online translation services like http://babelfish.altavista.com) provide no such control or confidence.

Monitoring human translators is also impractical, although human translation errors have been a significant issue in healthcare institutions. Studies have shown that non-professional medical interpreters risk patient safety and increase liability. According to a study published in Pediatrics, the leading journal for illnesses affecting children, an average of 31 interpreter errors occurred on each of the 13 doctor visits studied.


Some of the mistakes were minor, such as omission of a word that did not significantly change a doctor’s meaning, but 63% were considered serious enough to have medical consequences. In these cases, the incorrect translation changed the description of an illness to the doctor, misstated diagnostic or treatment options, or affected a parent's understanding of a child's condition or the need for follow-up visits or referrals.

The problem is a serious one. According to a 2004 study of 200 state hospitals, roughly 51 percent of California hospital patients who needed translation did not receive it. San Mateo Medical Center spokesman Dave Hook said in an Examiner.com article last summer that an estimated 35 percent, or about 23,400, of the Medical Center’s annual patients speak a language other than English. He added that this number is growing. A significant number of medical errors have occurred nationwide because people have misinterpreted medical information.

In the U.S., the increasing number of patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) has recently been attracting considerable attention in federal and state legislatures. Language barriers impact the quality of care, service utilization, patient satisfaction, health outcomes, legal liability, and hospital admissions, and have resulted in excessive costs within the healthcare industry.

As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights and Office of Minority Health has mandated that any entities receiving federal funds, including healthcare organizations, “must offer and provide language assistance services, including bilingual staff and interpreter services, at no cost to each patient/consumer with limited English proficiency, at all points of contact, in a timely manner during all hours of operation.”1 The 6,003 hospitals (2003 www.USNews.com) and 836,156 physicians in the United States (2001 www.ama.com) are expected to absorb hundreds of millions of dollars to comply. Converser for Healthcare will directly address this demand and provide institutions with a reliable alternative which is lower in cost than any other solution on the market today.

Benefits of the Converser for Healthcare translation system: Converser is

  • A cost-efficient alternative to human translators, interpreters, and transcribers.
  • Highly reliable. It is the first broad-coverage translation product that allows a user to check accuracy and easily correct errors in real time, using Spoken Translation’s unique Meaning Cues™ technology.
  • A private, consistent, and verifiable solution for translation in an environment where mistranslation could result in medical reporting errors and incorrect patient diagnoses.
  • An around-the-clock system that can be used anywhere, anytime.
  • Capable of broader, more reliable translation results than other automatic translation solutions on the market today.

Availability & Pricing:

Converser for Healthcare is available starting in March 2007 for English <> Spanish, with other languages planned for release later this year. Chinese is planned for the healthcare market, while German and Japanese are currently under development for other markets. Converser can run on Tablet PCs or laptops (full-size or ultra-portable), and release is planned for numerous handheld devices. Converser uses Nuance’s RealSpeak text-to-speech engine, which accurately pronounces translated text.

The list price is slated for $1,499. In North America, Spoken Translation will sell Converser for Healthcare through VARs (value added resellers), direct sales, and government contracts. In North America and worldwide, sales through OEMs are also planned.

For further information about reselling or purchasing Converser, please call 1-866-SPOKENT.

About Spoken Translation

Spoken Translation, Inc., www.SpokenTranslation.com, creates ground-breaking software systems for real-time cross-lingual communication. The Company’s mission is to enable wide-ranging conversations across language barriers by building intuitive software solutions that combine automatic translation, speech recognition, speech synthesis, and its own proprietary technology. Spoken Translation’s flagship product, Converser for Healthcare, is the world’s first software system for translation of wide-ranging spoken, typed, or handwritten conversations between speakers of English and Spanish. Users can monitor and correct input and translation errors for increased accuracy and confidence.

Trademark reference: Converser, the Converser logo, Spoken Translation, Inc. and the Spoken Translation logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Spoken Translation, Inc. All other company or product names mentioned may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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