A digital platform called OBTranslate that aims to translate more than 2,000 African languages to enable rural dwellers to gain easy access to global markets has been launched.
According to its creator, 63 per cent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to global markets because of language barriers.
“Over 52 native languages in Africa have undergone language death and have no native speakers,” said Emmanuel Gabriel, founder of Germany-based OpenBinacle, the creator of OBTranslate, which was launched this month. “OBTranslate can close communication gaps on the continent.”
“In the next five years, we hope to acquire thousands or millions of users to take up translation tasks on OBTranslate.”
Emmanuel Gabriel, OpenBinacle
The innovation resulted from an earlier messaging app that was built in 2017 to allow interaction in real-time translation of 26 African languages, but led to inaccurate outputs, Gabriel admitted.
“We were very frustrated about the messaging app, and as a result we didn’t want to come into the market with a bad product,” added Gabriel. “We decided to embark on building our own computer-assisted translation and machine learning platform and this gave birth to OBTranslate.”
According to Pangeanic, a global translation company based in Spain, a computer-assisted translation tool converts texts into smaller and translatable segments to facilitate quick and accurate translation.
“The segments can be recalled later on and thus the translator ensures that the terminology and writing style of the original is followed,” Pangeanic explains on its website. “It also provides savings when the material that needs translation is similar to previously translated material – you only pay for part of the sentence that has changed.”
Gabriel added: “We created OBTranslate with an innovative business model to guarantee that the tool is sustainable to pay everyone whose translations are very accu