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Hall Farm
Near Newmarket
Tel + 44 (0)1223 335927

Operational Communications
Controlled Languages



Prolingua Ltd. was founded in Cambridge in 1989. Its purpose was to provide a commercial framework for the activities of a group of language and computing R&D scientists which had collaborated and were still collaborating in a number of highly successful University and private sector projects in operational communications, controlled languages and machine translation. These were:

A general overview of this work is provided by the paper "Talking across Frontiers" by Edward Johnson to appear in the proceedings of the International Conference on European Cross-Border Co-operation.  Available as a PDF file (265kbytes).


The directors of Prolingua Limited are Edward Johnson and David Matthews.  Johnson has a long experience of linguistics and related work in operational communications, both from an academic and a commercial standpoint. He is a Senior Research Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. David Matthews has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge and has published extensively in the field of programming language design and implementation. He continues to maintain links with the Division of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.


Prolingua Ltd has carried forward the R&D achievements of its founders and continues to provide a range of consultancy and direct services for language, computing and communications.

Prolingua Ltd. created the Award Winning International Multilingual Police Communications system LinguaNet™. This system runs presently in eight languages and is operational in nine European countries. Prolingua Ltd. conducts the licensing, distribution, maintenance and support of this system which is, a Prolingua product.


Prolingua and its directors have a long history of successful, consultancy and development contracts with a number of organisations including:

British Telecom; Pergamon Press; Prentice Hall; UK Home Office; European Commission; Group 4; Philips; SEMA Group; Kent County Constabulary; Kent County Council; Simoco; Intelligent Medical Objects; Telematix Ltd. UK Department of Trade and Industry. The Policespeak and Intacom lexicons reports and communications manuals are sold throughout the world. Over forty different European police services have taken out LinguaNet licences.


Prolingua has a history of working in concert with development partners. These may be teams within the organisation which is funding the work such as BT, Philips, SEMA, and Group 4. They may also be from other organisations with which progress must be synchronised. Operational communications projects for example, require that professionals from the particular services involved work closely with Prolingua's teams. Success with such collaborative ventures is a feature of the style of this company which has worked at close quarters with large company teams and with aviation, maritime, police, emergency services, medical agencies and their administrations from many countries.


Long experience with collaborative projects stood the company in good stead when it created the five nation, seven partner consortium for the European Commission Framework 4 project "Test-Bed LinguaNet". Prolingua then went on to manage the entire project for its three year duration (1995 to 1998). Prolingua's managerial and organisational achievements were singled out for praise by the Commission's inspectors at its mid-term review and the project itself was given public recognition as a Framework 4 "success story" at the Barcelona Telematics Exhibition in 1998.


Prolingua has two offices; one in Cambridge England, the other office in Edinburgh, Scotland (created in 1994). Strong links with both Cambridge and Edinburgh universities are maintained. The company has a close working relationship with other university level establishments throughout the world. These links provide opportunities to access and exchange expertise and staff.


Prolingua has a core staff of 6. Prolingua can call on the services of additional specialist staff taken on to form teams for individual projects and commissions as the need arises.


Prolingua has recently contributed the communications element to the European Maritime Disasters Project partly funded by the European Commission, completed November 2000.

Suremind - Prolingua is assisting the emergency services of Britain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium in the creation of the Suremind project which, in consort concert with other European police and emergency services, intends to examine then specify technical and linguistic requirements and procedures for multi national emergency response in the event of major disasters.


Languages for Export: Regional Award Winner 1999 Prolingua Ltd won the Eastern Regional and the National Finals of the UK Department of Trade and Industry Language Technology Award sponsored by Bell Communications . The award was presented to Edward Johnson by the Minister for Trade, Brian Wilson MP at a ceremony held at the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday. 29th. June 1999.  Languages for Export: National Award Winner 1999