Speech Technology Magazine

Arabic Voice Translator Debuts for iPhoneListen to this article in TTS, powered by Loquendo

A new English-to-Arabic speech translator for iPhone is available at Apple's App Store.
By Leonard Klie - Posted Sep 22, 2009
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Sakhr Software, a provider of Arabic speech and language software solutions for mobile technology, today launched its Arabic Language Buddy for the iPhone and iPod. This speech-activated translator application, which is geared primarily toward students and travelers, enables live, interactive English-to-Arabic translation. Users can speak or type any English sentence, view the Arabic translation, and hear it played out loud.

Arabic Language Buddy makes live English-to-Arabic translations possible with its own next-generation speech recognition, machine translation, and text-to-speech technologies. The solutions are all based on Sakhr’s own technologies, based on more than 15 years of research and development, explains company spokesperson Tuyen Ho.

“The TTS and machine translation are all Sakhr’s own technology, but we take some existing modules out there and layer Sakhr’s technology on top of them to improve recognition and create a best-of-breed solution,” Ho says.

The application accepts free-form dictation of U.S. English without the need for user training. “Users are not restricted,” Ho says. “They can speak whatever they like and the application will understand that and provide the appropriate translation in both spoken and written formats.”

 The application also supports optional keypad entry and stores recent translations for easy access and practice. That was a big hit with one student who participated in recent pilots of the application. “The Arabic Language Buddy iPhone application lets me practice my language skills at any time. It is especially helpful that I’m not limited to learning stock phrases or vocabulary, and can practice dialogue for any subject area,” Jordan Valdés, a student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said in a statement.

David Hamod, president and CEO of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, was also involved in the pilot. He would recommend  the mobile application “in many situations, from asking for restaurant recommendations to communicating with local organizations.”

Sakhr’s technology only supports Arabic translations at this time. “Arabic is our hallmark. It’s where we’ve spent the last 15 years in R&D,” Ho says. “It’s a very complex language with many dialects.”

Arabic Language Buddy is available for an initial $9.99 download fee for the first 30 days of use. After 30 days, subscription renewals are priced at $49.99 per month for academic users and $149.99 per month for other users, with discounts for long-term enrollments.

The Arabic Language Buddy is currently only available for students and travelers. For government and business enterprise users, Sakhr provides a bidirectional English-Arabic Mobile Speech-to-Speech Translator that works with iPhone and BlackBerry models. Its technologies also integrate with most telephony systems for interactive voice response, directory assistance, and voice dialing applications.

To see a Demo Video of the new iPhone application, click here.

 

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