IBM did what?
Now, you could look at this and say, "Well, there are two competing vendors whose stuff is under trial. This is just IBM's way of getting their foot in the door."
You could also look at this and say, "Damn, $45 million out the door, no strings attached? That's unheard of."
Apparently, the DoD isn't even sure if this is legal. Hopefully, it is. Automatic translators aren't a fix, but they are better than nothing. And further, it would lay the groundwork for future translators for other weird parts of the world we get deployed to. I mean seriously, you can beat on the Army for not having enough Arabic linguists, because a high percentage of the world population of crazy assholes speak Arabic, but when you consider that we are deployed to nearly 200 countries world-wide, how many languages can we realistically keep current skills in?
Anyway, good for IBM. I hope this results in a usable product getting down to the troop level. I doubt this will end up in IBM cornering the market on military translating machines, and it's not that big a market anyway. :)
On the subject of cool things, there's something indefinably British about this blog that is being used to coordinate protests outside the Iranian Embassy.