Raytheon Intelligence & Space Delivers New Intelligence Analysis Capability to IARPA

Raytheon BBN’s cross-language information retrieval technology enables English speakers to search through low-resource foreign language text and speech and receive relevant summaries in English

  • Applies cross-language information retrieval from text or speech with translation of relevant phrases.

  • Enables users to understand context and meaning of search results.

  • Delivers understanding of world events through a native speaker’s point of view.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Jan. 31, 2022) – Raytheon BBN has developed a new capability to search text and speech from low-resource languages using English search terms. The tool was developed and demonstrated over four years under the IARPA Machine Translation for English Retrieval of Information in Any Language, or MATERIAL, program.

The tool retrieves foreign documents and recordings that are relevant to a query in English and gives the user English translations of relevant phrases. This allows users to understand the context and meaning, without having to speak the language. The system used Kazakh, Pashto, Somali, Swahili and Tagalog to prove its efficacy for application against languages with little data for machine learning. In addition, it was tested against Farsi, Bulgarian, Lithuanian and Georgian.

“The system is designed to be applied to any foreign language,” said John Makhoul, Raytheon BBN program manager. “Low-resource languages present a particular challenge to retrieval and translation technologies because of a lack of data for training systems. Raytheon BBN met that challenge by developing techniques to overcome the issue of low data and applied them to an end-to-end system that exceeded the goals of the program.”

According to Carl Rubino, IARPA MATERIAL program manager, “The tools and techniques developed under the program will boost our ability to find, examine and analyze foreign language content without needing to learn the language. For low-resource languages where expertise is minimal, these new capabilities provide a significant advantage.”

For questions or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Eric T. Mazzacone


[email protected]


About Raytheon BBN

Founded in 1948, Raytheon BBN provides advanced technology research and development with a focus on national security priorities. From the ARPANET, to the first email, to the first stereo digital mammography system, through the first metro network protected by quantum cryptography, Raytheon BBN has consistently transitioned advanced research to produce innovative solutions for its customers. Today, Raytheon BBN’s innovations allow for leading-edge maritime systems, networking solutions, speech understanding in any language or format, and lifesaving shooter detection systems. Raytheon BBN scientists and engineers continue to take risks and challenge conventions to create new and fundamentally better solutions in analytics & machine intelligence, networks and sensors, intelligent software and systems, and physical sciences.

About Raytheon Intelligence & Space

Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, delivers the disruptive technologies our customers need to succeed in any domain, against any challenge. A developer of advanced sensors, cyber services and software solutions, Raytheon Intelligence & Space provides a decisive advantage to civil, military and commercial customers around the world.