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What is LinguaNet?

a specially designed, messaging system for cross border, mission critical operational communication by police, fire, ambulance, medical, coastguard, disaster response coordinators. The version outlined here was developed for the police in Europe.

..........a system built with and for European police officers.

.........a tool used by front line police units in nine countries

Where is LinguaNet of particular value?

for cross-border links

.... Operational units need good cross-border communications, especially when time is short. LinguaNet's unique value is seen when problems like these are found:

language barriers

for quick preparation of routine enquiries and replies

........LinguaNet enables officers to create and transmit routine enquiries and replies to those enquiries quickly. It uses pre-formatted messages, designed by police, for topics such as persons, vehicles and firearms. Free text information may also be sent (see below: compatible machine translation). Pictures from scanners, digital cameras or pre-existing files greatly assist communication. It is simple to insert these into LinguaNet messages using its TWAIN interface.

where an email link tailored for police work would help cooperation

........LinguaNet is superior to telephoning or faxing. It has the advantages of conventional electronic mail and other advantages too. For example:

-An accurate record of an operational message can be kept.

where uncoordinated technical developments and changes occur constantly.

Police forces in different nations make changes to their information and communication systems at different speeds. They also make different choices. The result is incompatibility. LinguaNet, maintains links between users in different forces and countries nonetheless. It is designed to operate independently and to survive change. LinguaNet contains a unique software transport system to allow one Windows machine to communicate directly with another.

LinguaNet must also be adaptable to allow for improvements. The system has two, technically separate, but fully integrated parts: an application part for message preparation and a transport part for the transmission and reception of those messages. This is a flexible architecture which allows further developments to take place easily. For example, further messages, languages and facilities can be added easily to the application part without disturbing the transport part. Equally, the transport part can be changed to another form of transport without disturbing the application.

How does LinguaNet deal with the language problem?

No one can hope to learn properly all the European languages and machine translation will never be accurate enough for the exchange of life or death messages. LinguaNet provides the very best that can be done at present and gives a methodology for the future by providing:

  1. multi-lingual interfaces: users at any site have a choice of interface languages and may switch from one to another. In France the interface is generally shown in French, in Germany, German. As further sites are established more language interfaces will be created.
  2. automatic translation of formatted text: vehicles, persons, credit cards, firearms etc. with great accuracy. Police officers from all the participating nations have agreed standard messages and standard translations of the critical police terms in them in advance.
  3. alternative or supporting non-language media: LinguaNet allows, for example, good quality colour images within the body of messages (persons, vehicles, firearms, documents, fingerprints......). These may come from scanners or digital cameras via the TWAIN interface or from file sources. Further developments underway such as the creation of multilingual picture annotation software will increase further the system's interlingual capability.
  4. free text without translation: for safety reasons LinguaNet does not attempt to translate automatically messages which are sent in free text. It does however allow free text, in most European languages. This is transmitted in its original form. Free text additions usually relate to accompanying, already translated, formatted text (e.g. "more about the person/vehicle described"). This connection assists interpretation of the free text. Additionally, LinguaNet works well alongside free text machine translation systems. Police users have found commercial products like these useful for making rough translations of incoming free text in LinguaNet messages. Such products are not of course recommended for producing free text parts of outgoing messages.
  5. multilingual police lexicons: the team which developed LinguaNet has already built comprehensive police specific lexicons for use between some languages. As funding opportunities arise, more are being created.
  6. more languages: the compilation of the Italian version of LinguaNet took about four weeks to complete. This is an indication of the speed with which other languages can be added. Any user anywhere has the choice (at any time) of all the current LinguaNet languages in which to operate simply by opting for a different regional setting. LinguaNet languages are: Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and Portuguese.

Where was LinguaNet developed?

What other reasons account for the popularity of LinguaNet?

LinguaNet may be used to service a big network of contacts or used quite independently of a large group for "closed circuit" connections between two (or just a few) users at, for example, frontiers, tunnels, airports, ferry links or other desirable points of contact. LinguaNet can function in the same way as the familiar "secure" telephone line.

What has LinguaNet achieved for police?

There have been countless examples of best practice during the years LinguaNet has been in service:

Where are the User Groups?

What equipment do I need?

Although LinguaNet for Windows will run on any machine that can support Windows NT, 95, 98 and has a modem, to make the most out of the opportunities offered by the program, the following configuration of standard off-the-shelf equipment is recommended:

Useful but not essential:

Future?

new developments and languages are underway e.g.:

- E.Europe languages

Technical Overview

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