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IBM using software to break language barriers

Big Blue unveils the IBM WebSphere Translation Server, software that translates Web pages, email and chat communications into various languages.

IBM unveiled software Monday that it hopes will make it easier and faster for workers around the world to communicate over the Internet despite language barriers.

The IBM WebSphere Translation Server enables Internet service providers and other businesses managing their own servers to translate Web pages, email and chat communications between English and German, French, Spanish and Italian.

The software also translates words from English into Chinese, Japanese and Korean, but not in reverse, Big Blue said in a statement.

The software, which was tested at financial giant Deutsche Banc Alex Brown, will be available in March and translates at a rate of 500 words per second, with speeds varying based on processor speed and system configuration, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company said.

IBM executives say the software will allow their customers to do more business over the Internet on a global scale.

The software runs on Microsoft Windows NT, Sun Solaris and IBM's version of Unix, AIX, and can connect with Lotus Domino, a Web-messaging server, and Lotus Sametime, an instant-communications server. Lotus is an IBM subsidiary.

IBM WebSphere Translation Server is priced at $10,000 per processor.