DOD awards translation contract

In an effort to more quickly translate the massive amounts of information it is gathering in the worldwide war on terrorism, the Defense Department recently awarded McNeil Technologies Inc. a contract for language translation services.

The contracted services include digitizing and searching information being gathered as part of operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.

James McNeil, chairman and chief executive officer of the Springfield, Va.-based firm, said the company is not only providing human translators as part of the one-year, $3 million deal, but it first digitizes all the documents and stores them in searchable databases, which makes responses to DOD requests for specific information faster and easier.

For example, if DOD would like information pertaining to "bank accounts," McNeil employees can search the digitized documents and give the highest priority to translating the intelligence containing that search term, McNeil said.

Since Sept. 11, "our demand for language services has gone up exponentially," McNeil said, adding that this DOD contract is a perfect example. The original award was made in May for $1.5 million, but last week DOD doubled that amount because of its burgeoning translation needs.

McNeil's language services offer translation, interpretation and intelligence analysis in more than 95 percent of the world's languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Pashtu and Urdu, McNeil said. He added that the company's software can search them all, and its biggest problem currently is with Asian languages and translating those characters.

McNeil Technologies Language Research Center in Hyattsville, Md., provides the company with more than 6,000 reference and research materials on the less-commonly taught languages of the world. The center also has an enormous tape library, which includes 1,000 samples of spoken language tape recordings and written documentations of the major languages and dialects.

In other McNeil news, the firm announced this week that it won a one-year, $3.2 million contract from the Energy Department's Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs (BTS) for management, administrative and technical support services.

Under the contract, McNeil will assist BTS' communications by helping to promote the agency's programs aimed at increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for commercial and residential buildings. McNeil also will help the office design, develop, implement and maintain database systems to facilitate internal and external communications by providing analytical and evaluation services to support its budgeting and program planning activities.

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