SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is one of the standards in the emerging area of Web Services. It allows one application to request information from another application located anywhere on the internet. Since it is based on web standards, it enables communication between different kinds of applications running on almost any operating system, and without special drivers, configuration, etc.
Unfortunately, there is currently no way to access a SOAP service directly in FileMaker Pro. But there is a way of doing it with AppleScript, and since it FileMaker has good AppleScript support, the two can be combined. The "SOAP in FM" file provides five examples of accessing SOAP from within FileMaker Pro. Each one is a record in the FileMaker database, and you can add more services by filling in the relevant information.
Here is a screenshot of one of the services, which translates between various languages: