AT&T targets gov't, healthcare with on-demand mobile translation

AT&T boasts it is the only provider to offer on-demand language translation from mobile devices in over 170 languages.

Language translation could be as simple as a two taps on a cell phone with AT&T's new On Demand Interpreter solution.

Basically, users would just dial two keys (*4) on a mobile device and, through speech recognition technology, the On Demand Interpreter automatically selects the caller’s language and connects to a professional interpreter within seconds. Professionally-trained interpreters are promised to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In partnership with Language Line Services, the system understands more than 170 different languages, and the service is first being touted as ideal for government agencies and healthcare providers -- especially when it comes to scenarios involving first responders in emergencies and law enforcement personnel.

Easy access to language translation really has the potential to breakdown barriers for organizations and businesses that want to drop employees into the field to work amidst diverse populations.

As with any translation service that (at least initially) depends on automatic interpretation via technology, there are going to be some growing pains. Nevertheless, it could fill a small gap for businesses that want to expand to new areas -- even if they don't have the financial resources to train (or hire new) employees with the required language skills.

Available now to select government and business customers, the AT&T On Demand Interpreter is an add-on feature, subscribed to on a per-month, per-user basis.