GnW> From our first coverage to now …

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Follow up : Pak Translations Updates

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image What we have not been doing is keeping a tab on what the startups have been doing since launch, Some thing I need to correct from our side.

First up in this series is Pak Translations we covered them back in late 2007 here

Google should acquire – its a brilliant semantic urdu translation service

I got a chance to connect with the Zeeshan regarding what has been happening since then, I am extremely glad that they have moved on really well and might become a case for other young entrepreneurs to focus on local problems as well as solving global issues.

GnW> From our first coverage to now how has paktranslation grown trafic wise and deployment wise.> Mubashar and I first put up PakTranslations in late 2007. It was nothing more than a proof of concept of how technology can bridge the language barrier. We always believed that only localization can do for internet, what GSM did for tele

GnW> Have you started any monetization beside the adds, how do you plan to make a business out of it?

com in Pakistan. Since then PakTranslations has gradually increased in traffic and is now steady between 5,000 to 10,000 page views a day.

Our big break came in late 2009 when we met Mr. Nazir Ahmed Vaid, who brought to the table the two things most needed by any startup: Capital and business knowledge/experience.

GnW> How are you marketing or spreading awareness about this ?> We have never done anything for marketing. We are aware, like most of our visitors, that the job is half done. As you have rightly pointed out, developing machine translation dictionaries is a job well beyond two fools on a crusade. Any idea, especially on the web, often has a single chance. If the visitors are not impressed, it almost takes magic to convince them later. But we did manage to get some good web and television coverage from word of mouth. So the time has not come till yet, although it does seem close.

GnW> How much of a team is behind this effort now? >I assume adding keywords and their respective translations is a big task and some body alone can’t do it, how do you plan to accomplish it?> Today, PakTranslations employs over 20 linguistic experts and voice artists, to develop the most comprehensive machine translation dictionaries for Urdu and other provincial languages. In the next few months, PakTranslations aims to launch English to Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Punjabi and Balochi machine translation and text to speech services.

GnW> Have you started any monetization beside the adds, how do you plan to make a business out of it?> All services would be available on the web, free of cost. They would also be offered on mobile phones in the form of SMS translators and readers. We are currently in contact with several telecom providers, with discussions ranging from initial presentations to test deployments.

Another very important milestone is of course ISPs. The idea is of an audio web translation service which would also be able read a part or an entire web page, in any local language. Hopefully this would not only take down the language barrier, but would also pack a punch on the literacy problem. We strive to achieve this milestone this year.

GnW> Also a big challenge would be that a lot of English words usually change their meaning with context is there any plan to work on that?> Context, again as you have rightly pointed out, is the biggest challenge for any machine translation system. The idea is of a web-based proofreader. The user would be able to choose from a wide collection meanings for every word, covering all contexts. Therefore the users would be able to fix the translations with only a few clicks and save the changes under their username. Doing this often would help them statistically tune the technology for their use, while also providing us with valuable feedback. A proof of concept of this idea is available on

Another important point to note is that this statistical learning model would be target language independent. Therefore if I proofread my website for Urdu, I can rest assured that it has also been fixed for Sindhi, Pashto, Punjabi and Balochi.

GnW> I still have not seen any other site venture in this area, are there any upcoming competitors you are watching out for?> About competitors, we sadly agree. We are not aware of any and we also fail to understand why. What can be more important?

GnW> Over all how has this experience been you have really put in your heart and soul, into it?  Any message you would like to share with other entrepreneurs specially regarding providing unique value with innovation?> Lastly, the message for other entrepreneurs about innovation. We don’t know of any other recipe for innovation other than commitment. Today is not the time for 10-20% better. Imagine 10 times better. Just when you think you can never possibly do it in this life time, you may be on to something and we all need you to do it now. Facebook and Twitter are great, iStuff is really shiny, but we have our own problems to solve.

And when someone tells you that you would wreck your life trying, remember all that they are talking about is only 30-40 years. They will go by pretty fast if you commit, which probably is the best way to live anyway. Good luck.

We thank Green&White for this opportunity.

I thank zeeshan for his time, and end this with a beautiful video they have produced for their promotion. You can follow them here at there facebook fanpage

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