An Atlanta startup celebrated the Fourth of July by releasing an iPhone app that aims to help U.S. soldiers communicate in Afghanistan.

TripLingo develops and sells apps that help businesspeople, students and now troops bridge the language gap while traveling, making trips more effective.

The apps provide useful phrases for standard situations like eating and transportation, allowing the traveler to use a “slang slider” to select anything from formal, polished statements to “crazy” phrases only locals are likely to know. Each phrase includes audio pronunciation guide, and each version of the app includes a dictionary.

The July 4 release is a free app in the Dari language, a Persian tongue spoken by half of Afghanistan’s population, according to the CIA World Factbook. Dari is a strategic language for the Department of Defense.

“Having family members serving in the military highlighted the needs faced by the troops on the ground,” said Jesse Maddox, the company’s 25-year-old CEO and founder. “I knew TripLingo could help travelers, so we crafted a version with the same ease of use, quality and relevancy for these brave Americans.”

The hope is that the app will enable better communication between U.S. and Afghani personnel, which could save lives in tense combat situations, Mr. Maddox said in a news release.

TripLingo currently has Italian, Mexican Spanish, German, French and Brazilian Portuguese. Chinese and Hindi versions are in development. The apps are regularly priced at $9.99 but are on sale for $2.99 through July 6.

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As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...