“We have several of your VRT units that we received from the military as part of a shared counter-narcotics program that we participate in. We were thoroughly impressed with the military phrases and operation of the units”
Ventura County Sheriff
I was commo chief for an Iraq mission where we conducted Convoy Security Operations. One of the greatest tools we had was the Voice Response Translator. This was a tremendous asset as we didn’t have trained linguists, had to rely on the translators assigned, and they changed on a daily basis. Some were great, some were not, but to have the ability to say what we needed via the “squawk box” (that’s what we called it), was definitely a great and mission impacting ability. On our HMMWV, the gunner could utilize the bullhorn setup from his position with ease. We had some vehicles with LRADs mounted and found we could plug in VRT into the LRAD and project what VRT said at an extremely long range through the ship board sound system.
SSG, US Army / Former USMC
116th Engineer CSC
We have used VRT on countless occasions and with great success. The local villagers are definitely confused at first but they respond well and understand the translations after they realize that there is not a little man in my pocket speaking to them.
Echo Co 2/8 HET
While serving in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom XIII, I was able to use the VRT to teach my classes and at the range. The VRT was very useful when it came to giving the commands. All of the local nationals had an easy time understanding the VRT. Had it not been for the VRT, we would not have been able to communicate with the local nationals or teach them how to safeguard and protect their country. The VRT was very useful at MEDCAPS and VETCAPS.'
C Co., 6th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne)
I have been using VRT and it has been working great. The main time I use the VRT is at night, doing base defense and when we are in villages, to speak with locals, while elders are in meetings.
Thanks again for all your help!
"While serving aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Gentian in Miami Beach, Florida, radio calls came over the air waves in English, Spanish, French and Creole. Coast Guard watch standers did not know how to address inbound vessels that would too closely approach our ship, but the VRT hand-held loudhailer provided the right solution. Off of Haiti, CGC Gentian used VRT to warn paddle boats and sail freighters that we had established a 100-yard security zone around the cutter. Since no one onboard Gentian spoke Creole, using VRT became a safe and effective way to keep small boats outside of the security zone. Additionally, we were able to quickly determine the intent of any approaching vessel. If we gave a verbal command over the loud speaker and the oncoming vessel acknowledged it, then our crew knew that the vessel was compliant and less of a threat. Without VRT, we would not have been able to communicate with the local boating public. The VRT provided an effective means of communication and saved us from having to deploy our response boat every time a vessel approached the security zone."
LT Robert BixlerCG District 11 (dre)Cutter Section Chief
“VRT is most useful in addressing crowds. Gunners use them to issue instructions to vehicles in traffic as well as use the built in siren.”
OK – ARNG
“We had a unit comprised of volunteers for an Iraq mission where we conducted Convoy Security Operations. During our deployment one of the greatest tools we had was the Voice Response Translator. Company had four complete kits which had the portable speaker box and bullhorn connecting cable so it could be projected through the bullhorn or worn on your person.
This was a tremendous asset as we didn’t have trained linguists with our unit and had to rely on the translators assigned to us per mission and those translators changed on a daily basis. Some were great and some were not and they were from the same pool so we’d see the same personnel on a semi-regular basis. But to have the ability to say what we needed to via the ‘squawk box’ (that’s what we called VRT) was definitely a great and mission impacting ability.
On our HMMWVs the gunner could utilize the bullhorn from his position with ease. We also had vehicles that had no outer accessible turrets but on some of those vehicles we had Long Range Acoustical Devices (LRADs) mounted and we found that we could plug in the squawk box (VRT) into that system and project what the VRT said an extremely long range due to the sound systems.
Our only complaint about the device was that we didn’t have it at MOB site so we could have been training on it and familiarizing ourselves with the sound package to recognize your voice. I know my unit was very grateful for having these in country. Hopefully we’ll see more down the road in Afghanistan.”
SSG US Army/Former USMC
The VRT Translator was great. I used it on many missions. It made my missions easier.
SSG, OPS NCO
Arkansas National Guard
“I think VRT will come in handy in a lot of situations. Our interpreters are great, but sometimes we may have a Serbian interpreter and the locals might be Albanian. Sometimes they stop us for information and it can be hard to communicate with them. “The VRT has the potential to be a very useful tool if utilized properly. It would help out at traffic control points (TCP) and it would help out in crowds. Helping KFOR Soldiers on specific missions, such as UXO (unexploded ordnances) identification, vehicle checkpoints, etc.. It’s a well made device. Even if Soldiers don’t think so now, when they get out there and start using it they will find that the VRT is more useful than they thought.”
SGT, Team leader, TF Thunder
“I have used the VRT and found that the set up was easy and there are plenty of directions to assist. Many of the interpreters here in southern Afghanistan speak Pashto as a second language and English is third. I have used the VRT to bridge that gap at times. You provided enough accessories to wear the VRT in any configuration and the AC charger adapters really came in handy… an outstanding product that has many uses not just in the combat role.”
“I've used VRT a couple of times out here with good results. I was able to keep civilians, children, and animals away from our soldiers without having to yell or use warning shots, as our interpreter was busy dealing with other situations. Use of the VRT has been helping us with our counter insurgency mission, allowing us to keep a more humane side with civilians when our interpreter is tied up.”
1LT, Mortar Platoon, HHC/1-506th IN
VRT can be useful at onsite locations where we are presorting patients in situations where direct commands/one way communication is necessary, i.e. where local nationals don't understand the concept of a line very well.
We've used it to communicate with a few patients regarding their pain levels without having to search for a translator in the middle of the night.
LTJG, USNS Mercy
'For hot combat environments, the VRT excels.'
Institute for Defense Analyses Report, ‘S&T RESPONSIVENESS IN SUPPORT OF CURRENT MILITARY OPERATIONS,’ DEC 07
I used the Voice Response Translator (VRT) for language capabilities throughout the theater to bridge the gap when an interpreter was unavailable. The Voice Response Translator (VRT) was a force multiplier with excellent operational usage. It broke the barrier between no Arabic capabilities and communication abilities during interviewing, searches, check points, and some conversations. It worked well in a normal room environment with little interference or noise to interrupt the sensitivity of the microphone.
I used the VRT to “speak” to the locals during a vehicle stop. Each person that heard the pre-recorded message was understood and in cases where directions were given, they followed. This made directions easy when the interpreter was not readily available.
We also had to complete the inspections of rooms without the use of an interpreter. This proved to be quite challenging and the little bit of Arabic language we learned came in quite helpful. I was able to use the VRT I had attached to my uniform to continue the search with complete understanding of the commands I gave. Using the VRT, I was able to direct persons to put their hands up, tell them I am searching for weapons and ask questions about weapons cache’s. This machine was clearly a force multiplier when an interpreter is not available.
At a TCP/ECP, when the interpreter was busy with another vehicle, I was able to use the VRT to let the driver of the vehicles know that we are conducting searches for weapons and people on a “Be On Look Out” (BOLO) list. I was able to tell them to look at the pictures and tell me if they recognize any names. Again, this proved invaluable when an interpreter was not present.
Cultural Awareness is a combat multiplier that significantly enhances Soldier and unit effectiveness while greatly increasing Force Protection. The VRT is a component of that force multiplier as it relates to both the cultural aspect and the feeling that we are there to help and care enough to try and speak their language. The language barrier is a major concern for the ability to win over the Iraqi/Afghanistan people and give them a sense that we are there to help. The VRT bridges that gap that Soldier’s need to help the local populace feel as though the American troops are helping them become a successful and safe society.
After using the Voice Response Translator (VRT) I highly recommend units have one or two systems to take with them when deploying in the absence of an interpreter, it is vital to communication. One system allows up to 8 users to personally train the system to their voice recognition.
MAJ, MI, WARISC
Cultural Awareness Training, Peace Operations Training Center, Jordan, March 2008
"VRT was used in communicating with an older man, who did not speak a word of English, in a predominately Shiite neighborhood. He had useful information regarding a car bomb maker in his neighborhood. We never would have assumed or even asked about the information without having a means or resource to with the VRT. He gave us detailed information regarding location, types of explosives being used, where placed, when, and with whom. We were able to put together an official High Value Target packet on the suspect, and did detain, question, and arrest the individual two nights later during a raid. All the information we received was in fact and true. Without the device and the ability to communicate effectively, I am certain that we would never have caught and arrested the suspected individual, or even think anything of the matter for that point. Lives were saved that day, and the streets in that particular neighborhood will continue to be safer due to the effective communication, and processing of information from everyday people.
Other times we used VRT to communicate with kids, although innocent themselves, they provide a wealth of knowledge and actually find the device quite intriguing. Nothing can or will compare to having a human interpreter, one who speaks the language fluently, knows the dialect, and way of life, but I am convinced that the translator device is a great backup and alternate means of communication."
Legion Company, 2-3 INF
‘The VRT is an extremely useful tool which
has been a must for every patrol. We mentor the Afghan National
Army (ANA) and the VRT has come in handy with both communicating
with the ANA and with the local population. The VRT has given me
the ability to direct the ANA and help us accomplish our mission.’
1LT 2-205th Corps Afghanistan
Thank you for the use of VRT. We have used
it in training of our counterparts here in Iraq. It has become very
important due to the shortage of interpreters on our FOB.
SFC, Army, Iraq
The VRT is easy to program, you just repeat
phrases to train it to react to your voice. It is small, lightweight
and hands free. Just clip it on your IBA and it is ready to go.
MAJ, Army, Camp Victory, Iraq
‘The VRT system is one thing that I think
every Marine should carry. After I programmed it, it worked great.
I am an important part of raids and cordon knocks because I can
communicate to the people.’
Lcpl, Lima Company
‘The VRT system is one thing that I think every Marine should carry. After I programmed it, it worked great. I am an important part of raids and cordon knocks because I can communicate to the people.
Lcpl J Noble, Lima Company
‘As [Iraqi civilians] came around the corner
they ran right into a [Coalition Forces] blocking position for a
cordon and search operation. [Coalition Forces] employed the VRT
to tell the civilians to back off. They complied and returned to
their homes. ‘An additional positive was that upon hearing
this [Anti- Coalition Forces] elements in the house next to the
blocking positions squirted out of their house. [Coalition Forces]
detained them. As it happened, an adjacent coalition unit targeted
one of the squirters on their targeting list.’
OIF Ranger Combat Use
“During some soft sell approaches,
maneuver elements have rolled right up to the door of the suspicious
person’s house, knocked on the door and asked for the targeted
person. In one case, [Coalition Forces] approached the house and
announced via the VRT that we were there and conducting an operation.
Several people came out of their houses and provided information
on [Anti-Coalition Forces] forces in the area and led us to a weapons
OIF Ranger Combat Use
‘After entering a house looking for an [Anti-Coalition Forces]
member, there was a lot of confusion given the number of non-combatants
(women and children) on the objective. [Coalition Forces] employed
the VRT to order the personnel to remain calm, and cooperate. It
helped [Coalition Forces] organize and prioritize personnel for
further tactical questioning as [Coalition Forces] were able to
announce that they were looking for weapons, explosives and or [Anti-Coalition
Forces]. After briefly screening and
segregating the personnel who possessed knowledge, [Coalition Forces]
brought the interpreter forward to aid in questioning.’
OIF Ranger Combat Use
`It has proved to be the best interpreting tool that we have used
to date. Others have been purchased for us, but yours is used all
of the time. It is simple to program, easy to use and the voice
that results from the unit is clear and understandable to the end
user-the Arabic vessels that we encounter each day.’
XO, CGC Adak, 11 SEP 03
‘‘We received the VRT's yesterday afternoon and were
able to download the medical phrases from the website that you provided
and begin training yesterday evening. We are overwhelmed with your
helpfulness and very pleased with the quality of your product.’
Navy Medic Pakistan Pre-Deployment Report
‘We went on another air assault today and I
used the VRT again, and as before when there was no interpreter
around it was wonderful. It helped me establish control in an uncontrollable
situation without it.’
Landing Zone RTO, 101st Airborne Division,
"Voice Response Translators ‘contributed
immeasurably to the success of more than twenty direct action raids
in Iraq in support of national level objectives. In addition to
sparing precious time on the objective, they reduced collateral
damage by bridging a tremendous language barrier therein resulting
in the detention of more than fifteen members of the local insurgent
The VRT proved invaluable in multiple roles as not only a tactical
questioning tool but also as a force protection multiplier used
both on objectives and from blocking positions.’
Captain, 3/75 Rangers, February 2005
"The Marines who employed the VRT give
it credit for being a very rugged unit that can stand the rigors
of being a permanent part of battle gear, getting bumped and dropped,
and still function properly." "It was exposed to extreme
heat in excess of 95 degrees with greater than 80 percent humidity.
It weathered rain and thunderstorms for up to one hour in the open.
It shows no signs of problem."
S-2A, 22nd MEU , EU Kosovo Deployment
"The IWT device responds well in high background
noise where other speech recognition systems would not work at all."
Kenneth Pence, Captain Metro Nashville
‘Well, the translators [VRTs] have arrived, and let me tell
you, they work superbly!’
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
One universal compliment that the VRT received was its ease of use.
It was extremely simple to program and to use.’
Navy Pakistan Relief After-Action Report
“The [IWT] device works great …
this is a very nice and unexpected addition to [the ship’s]
force protection capability.”
Weapons Officer, a U.S. Navy Destroyer