A while ago I read about a startup from Jordan called Dakwak, they provide an easy and fast way to translate and localize any website to a language your audience and visitors want. I thought it was a pretty cool idea so I got in touch with them and wanted to know more about them and see if they had any advice for people starting up new ventures in the region.
Below is the discussion half of the discussion we had, the rest will be posted later on this week, but if you’d like to stay updated with the latest news from Dakwak you can follow them on tiwtter @dakwak and on their Facebook page.
1) Can you give us a brief background about Dakwak?
Dakwak was started by Waheed Barghouthi around December 2009 though it was not named dakwak yet. Our vision has been clear since that day, to translate websites around the globe, to remove the language barriers. In July 2010 Dakwak launched its beta version of the service which is still under active development.
2) How did Dakwak come about?
It started from an ArabTechies CodeSprint event in Cairo in April 2009, Waheed was participating in the event and his subconscious was trying to find something new and innovative that would help the globe to surf the Internet without language barriers, he then shared the idea with some of the other participants and they all found it to be extremely feasible and actually solves a problem they’ve been facing all along.
3) How long have you been operational?
We’ve been in operation since July 2010.
4) Who are the key players at Dakwak?
Zaid Amireh: cofounder & CEO
Waheed Barghouthi: founder & CTO
5) What does Dakwak mean?
The term dakwak is an abbreviation of ‘duck’ and ‘quack’, since the duck’s sound is universal, we aim at making web content universally available as well.
1) How does it work?
Dakwak is currently composed of two components, the widget that is installed on the websites and the translation back end that is operated and maintained by dakwak. When a user visits a site that has the dakwak widget installed, this user can choose to view the page in a different language than the original language it was written in, when the user chooses a different language, the widget traverses the current page, extracts all the textual information from it, translates it using dakwak’s back end and replaces this translated text in place of the original text.
2) How many users are using your product?
We currently have 838 registered sites, a large portion of those are using our product.
3) Once users add your product do they need to contact you anytime afterwards?
The whole sign up process and usage of dakwak is done entirely by the users, they don’t have to contact us in order to operate the product.
4) What are the new features you are looking forward to add to Dakwak?
We are currently in talks with a Machine Translation provider that would enable us to deliver a translation quality that is better than Google Translate especially when it comes to Middle Eastern languages. ?We are also working on adding features that would help with crowd sourcing the translation process of sites.
5) Does dakwak translate the whole site including the content?
Yes, if it is textual content then it will be translated, we are currently working to support both videos and images translation as well.
To find out how they secured funding and get some advice about startups in the region stay tuned for part two of the article.
If you have any questions that you’d like to ask Dakwak, let us know below.