10 million Fcfa is the total value of the price given to Agha Bill Njoh and his team mates SWI INNICENT and CHRISTIAN ATANGANA, co-founders and promoters of the project Cameroon eTranslate, during the second edition of the ICT Innovation week in Cameroon, organized by Cameroon’s ministry of Posts and Telecommunication.
Around 500 projects registered for this competition and only the 15 best projects where pre-selected for the grand finale Bootcamp and competition in Yaoundé to select the best 3 projects.
“This digital innovation week has been a great experience and transformative one for us and we will be forever grateful. This is by far the best well-structured and organized project contest in Cameroon, I have had to take part in. From the logistics to the expert led training at the boot camps, to the fair play. It’s really been remarkable” said Agha Bill N. co-founder of Cameroon eTranslate and representative of the candidates at the boot camp.
The one-week long program consisted of a 3 day expert-led boot camp training for the participants and also talk shows with Cameroon Tech industry icons. The fourth day was the jury evaluation and the final day, the award ceremony.
Cameroon eTranslate is the second prize winner this year, Cameroon eTranslate is a translation software running an Artificial Intelligent Algorithm with machine learning and natural language processing [NLP] that translates from Cameroon’s official languages to its National Languages.
According to Agha Bill Njoh co-founder and software developer at Cameroon eTranslate and scholar at Open Dreams, the money gotten will be invested into the running of the project to accommodate more languages and market the product. The team says the pandemic outbreak was an accelerator to the rapid development of this project, as they couldn’t stay indifferent when quality sensitization on the pandemic couldn’t get to the locals on time in the language they best understand.
“Many of our national languages are getting extinct and again the lack of the digital use of these languages causes the collaboration of joined projects between nationals and internationals very difficult.” Says Swi Innocent Che, when asked about his motivating factor.
Bill and the Minister of Post and Telecommunications
One of the main challenges they are currently facing in the project is getting language dictionaries of these languages, most of which aren’t even documented, and for some without an existing alphabet, he further explains. But nevertheless, they work in close collaboration with local community development organization and have already begun partnership discussions with international NGO’s like SIL, and are open to any potential partnership and collaboration that will foster the rapid growth of this project, which at finish will be available online for usage by everyone.
(c) Open Dreams 2020