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ICE seeks automated phone translation capability in several languages

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of DHS wants to hear from companies that are capable of supplying “automated real-time phone translation” technology that can translate two-way phone conversations between English-speaking ICE employees and native speakers of other languages (excluding Spanish.)

“This technology should not require interaction with actual interpreters,” says ICE in a sources sought notice it published on Feb. 13. “Our preliminary market research indicates that this is an emerging technology.”

In its role as an immigration enforcer and investigator, ICE frequently comes in contact with individuals who speak a wide range of languages. The agency wants to make two-way conversations with such individuals more efficient and less costly.

One company that is active in this field is Lexifone, which “provides an automated phone interpreter, accessible from any phone (mobile, landline or VoIP) in real time, offline and online,” says the company’s Website. “Lexifone's voice translation technology thrives to create the simplest user experience, backed by a highly sophisticated linguistic telecom backbone. Lexifone currently supports over 15 languages and dialects and carries translated calls to over 100 countries, enabling easy communication between people who do not speak the same language.”

ICE wants to hear from potential suppliers by Feb. 20. Further information is available from Katherine King at 202-732-7406 or