The AP has a very interesting article about BBN Technologies' work on DARPA's speech recognition and translation project, called Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE).
There are two other companies being funded, along with BBN, for the work - IBM and SRI International. All three are being supported by LDC (Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania), which is an open consortium founded by the USG (United States Government) to create and distribute speech and text databases, as well as other types of resources, for language research.
The AP article is easily understandable by non-specialists, while still being interesting for those who do this for a living.
The researchers are only one year into a five year funded effort, so it is still early days. It will take some significant breakthroughs to accomplish what Dr. Joseph Olive, the DARPA program manager heading it up, has set out for the goals - they are well beyond merely challenging, but that is what DARPA's mission is supposed to be about.
(Hat tip: Ars Technica)