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Tarjimly, a service that connects refugees with translators, today announced the launch of iOS and Android apps. Tarjimly had previously been available on Facebook Messenger and was highlighted onstage by CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a noteworthy automated bot at the F8 developer conference in 2017.
The service’s creators say it has been used by more than 15,000 refugees around the world. Examples include helping a Syrian woman tell medics her child is allergic to Penicillin and alerting Greek authorities to the location of a capsized boat attempting to cross a portion of the Mediterranean Sea.
Tarjimly means “translate for me” in Arabic. The app uses machine learning to assess the language skills of more than 8,000 volunteer translators. The service then recommends a translator based on their availability, specialized knowledge, or certification.
Anyone who speaks at least two languages can sign up to be a volunteer. Tarjimly volunteers collectively speak 80 languages.
Tarjimly was created by Aziz Alghunaim and Atif Javed in 2017, shortly after President Trump’s first Muslim ban was announced. The pair later quit their respective jobs at Palantir and AJ+ to build the bot.
Tarjimly has taken part in the Fast Forward Accelerator accelerator, as well as Y Combinator.
Also this week: Google Assistant expanded its Interpreter Mode, a feature first announced last month for real-time interpretation of 27 languages. While Interpreter Mode with Google Assistant can be impressive, it’s currently limited to exchanges that last no longer than 15 seconds, and it is only available on Google Home speakers and smart displays.
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