SMARTPHONES, Tech stories

Cameroon eTranslate, 3 astonishing benefits of this technology

Cameroon eTranslate is a translation software that offers a unique and unprecedented opportunity to translate from Cameroon’s official languages (English and French) to its over 250 National/native Languages. It employs Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing(NLP), to give the world a taste of Cameroon’s rich language culture. 

Cameroon eTranslate is developed by a team of Cameroonian tech geniuses, spearheaded by Agha Bill Njoh and his teammates SWI INNOCENT and CHRISTIAN ATANGANA. In this article, we explore 3 undeniable benefits amongst a pool of others, that this project will have, particularly to Cameroonians. 

Cameron eTranslate, National ICT competition

1 – Bringing our rich language culture to the spotlight.

 Cameroon’s culture is rich indeed, the country is home to at least 250 languages; These include Afro-Asiatic languages, two Nilo-Saharan languages, four Ubangian languages, and 169 Niger-Congo languages amongst others (Wikipedia). eTranslate is a project that will enable users to translate text, speech from English/French to any of these local languages for absolutely no cost. I cannot think of a better way to bring the spotlight on our rich language culture. eTranslate will offer some amount of revamping, to some of these nearly extinct local languages. Shortly, anyone on earth who speaks English or French will also be able to understand “Fulfulde“, courtesy of eTranslate.

2 – Creating a stronger connection between Nationals and Internationals

The lack of the digital use of these languages causes the collaboration of joined projects between nationals and internationals very difficult.” words of one of the co-founders, Swi Innocent Che when asked about his motivating factor. An important benefit of eTranslate is it’s potential to reconnect locals with the diaspora. eTranslate creates the perfect opportunity for communication and interactions between locals and internationals; ideas can be shared, development projects discussed, family issues addressed, etc…  With eTranslate, I could write “Awing” while you respond in English, amazing! 

3 – Assisting in the incessant fight against COVID 19 through effective sensitization.

I had the unmerited privilege to talk with one of the co-founders of this invention, Agha Bill Njoh,  who explains that the pandemic outbreak was an accelerator to the rapid development of this project. “We couldn’t stay helpless when quality sensitization on the pandemic couldn’t get to the locals on time in the language they best understand”, Bill added. Effective sensitization in this period is imperative, eTranslate will guarantee the empirical transfer of essential information to everyone, in their own unique dialect. How? I believe that the eTranslate app will be similar to Google translate. So once you have the app installed, you can easily translate any text content you have on your mobile phone, from English/french to your native language. This will smoothen sensitization, which could seriously curb the unwanted spread of the Coronavirus.

Cameroon eTranslate was rewarded with the second prize award of this year’s National ICT innovation contest organized by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, worth 10 million FCFA in total value. The money they received will be used to run the app, accommodate more languages, and market the app, Bill explained. 

Cameron eTranslate, Bill Agha Njoh

The Major drawback of eTranslate is getting language dictionaries of these languages, most of which are not yet documented. Others do not even have an alphabet as of now. Not to worry, close collaboration with local community organizations and NGOs appears to be a meaningful solution to this problem. The high level of computer illiteracy amongst locals of the country could pose a problem, so a lot of sensitization and training will have to be carried out by the team. Many Cameroonians are impatiently waiting for eTranslate’s official launch.

Are there any other benefits or drawbacks you feel I left out?  If so, let me know in the comments at the bottom of this page. What’s your general opinion about this platform? Share your thoughts with me. Thank you for reading this article.

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