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Voice Response Translators: Comparing Three Units

NCJ Number
Corrections Today
Date Published
2 pages

This report describes an evaluation of three voice translation devices.


As American culture grows increasingly diverse, the need for voice translation devices among police officers grows more urgent. A voice translator works by translating an officer’s commands into the required language. Three voice translators were evaluated by the National Institute of Justice and NAVAIR ORL Training Systems Division for their utility and applicability for criminal justice professionals. The three devices under review were the Phraselator, the Voice Response Translator (VRT), and the Universal Translator. The results indicated that while the Universal Translator was clearly the best choice for tourist travel, it did not perform as well in the noisy environments likely to be encountered by police officers. Both the VRT and the Phraselator held promise for law enforcement purposes; the VRT was the easiest and least obtrusive unit to use while the Phraselator had the largest phrase set and the ability to bypass the voice recognition capability if necessary. Agencies should consider how voice translators will be used by officers in order to select the most appropriate device.

Date Published: January 1, 2004