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Wed 1 Jul 2009 10:00 AM

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Arabic software firm buys US-based Dial Directions

Combined technology can turn any iPhone, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device into a voice and text translator

Arabic software firm buys US-based Dial Directions
Acquisition brings together technologies that can turn any BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Mobile device into a voice and text translator

Sakhr Software has bought San Francisco-based firm Dial Direction, famous for its voice-activated entry platform and being the first free phone service in the United States for driving directions.

Sakhr, which has a strong presence both globally and in the Middle East, is known for its rich Arabic natural language processing (NLP) knowledge base with translation technologies that connect English and Arabic speaking worlds. Sakhr is presently used by hundreds of organizations to process any type of Arabic content - from translating manuscripts to speech-to-speech mobile translation.

The acquisition will bring together technologies that can essentially turn any BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Mobile device into a voice and text translator.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed with all Dial Directions employees joining Sakhr’s ranks and bringing the total combined staff count to 200. The company’s management team will be based in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC, with an offshore development office in the Middle East.

Just last year Sakhr Software USA and Dial Directions partnered to develop an open speech-to-speech language application for the US government and business customers in mobile, cloud-computing environments. The solution enabled English and Arabic speakers to speak their native language, hear the audio translation, and read the text translation using an iPhone or Blackberry smartphone.

"Sakhr’s mission is to develop technology to enable communication across the Arabic language barrier,” said Steve Skancke, president, Sakhr Software USA. “At Dial Directions we found exceptional talent and unique technology, accelerating Sakhr’s ability to develop and deliver the most advanced solutions for our customers and partners.”

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Frank 11 years ago

I would definitely use this feature if the user can choose the Arabic dialect into which translation will be carried out. We all know that speaking literary Arabic is not an option because the written Arabic is not spoken. And spoken Arabic comes in tons of various dialects depending on the country where one is using it.