New technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have had a revolutionary influence on a large range of automatable activities across various sectors and professions in recent years, including certain fundamental language and conference services functions. Language technologies (LTs) are constantly changing, resulting in a progressive paradigm shift in translation, interpretation, and conferencing services. New technologies are increasingly being viewed as an integral element of its design. Data analysis, which is based on AI, is changing from a basic description of the past to predictive and prescriptive analysis for decision support or even autonomous performance, resulting in change.
Nour Al Hassan, Founder, and CEO of Tarjama thought of combining AI and human talent to deliver a full suite of language solutions including translation, localization, interpretation, content creation, transcription, subtitling, and strategic advisory and thereby led the foundation of the company. It is known to leverage technologies to deliver content for your business at phenomenal speed and efficiency. This is a candid conversation with Nour Al Hassan,
Brief us about your journey at Tarjama, what inspired you to start the company?
I come from a background in law – I am a lawyer by education and training. After graduating, I worked at an international organization in Jordan. Working in a fast-paced environment with very tight deadlines for deliverables, I saw the massive need for high-quality Arabic translation. I noticed that there was a clear lack of available language solutions geared for businesses in Jordan and the MENA region and tailored for the Arabic language in specific.
This motivated me to start Tarjama in 2008 to meet this frustrating demand. I started Tarjama with only two female linguists working remotely with me. I saw the undervalued network of exceptional and talented women in Jordan, and across the MENA region, and that drove me to focus on training and employing the largest network of Arabic-speaking female translators/linguists.
In order to provide our customers with better and more cost-effective service, I strategically shifted Tarjama from a traditional translation agency to a smart language solutions provider that offers an end-to-end range of language solutions – all geared with tech-powered human delivery.
Using the data and experience we accumulated over the years, we’ve built our own language technology, including Machine Translation, Translation Management System, Client Portal, Optical Character Recognition, Auto-Subtitling Tool, Business Dictionary Platform, and more. Currently, our entire operations staff is aided with our in-house proprietary technology – where our tech enables them to work smarter – saving them time which they can spend on the more creative, meaningful aspects of their work – and resulting in better delivery for our valued clients.
What are the initial challenges you faced and what are the reasons behind Tarjama’s long-standing success?
Scaling with speed and finding the right talent that enables us to scale. We expanded our hiring team and relied on headhunting the top talents out there with relevant experience. To meet the challenge of customers demanding fast & accurate delivery, we focus on building our own language technology & CAT tools, integrating them throughout our internal workflows to help our linguists work smarter.
What are the products or services Tarjama focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
We’ve expanded our product offering from just translation (back when the company was founded) to a full range of tech-powered language solutions to meet every content need for the modern-day business. This includes the app and web localization, transcreation, editing & proofreading, copywriting, subtitling, transcription, interpretation, and design – all in more than 55 languages. Companies looking for any type of multilingual content are able to find what they need at Tarjama.
On a global scale, what sets Tarjama apart in the translation space is our expertise and capabilities in the Arabic language. Using Arabic data across over 200 industries and in-depth knowledge of language structures, our NMT models are trained on various domains to deliver instant secure translations built for businesses. Our presence across over 5 global locations allows us to provide on-ground and timely support to our customers.
How do you decide to take Tarjama a step further?
Leading the language technology space in the MENA region. To do this, we are heavily investing in our AI projects, improving our machine learning algorithms, and identifying new language solutions to enable smarter, faster business workflows and results. Our focus is to further develop our existing technology solutions, in addition to building new ones that meet the market demands, and especially the unique challenges of the Arabic language.
Our goal is to partner with enterprises to maximize their localization efficiency, decrease their costs, and grand them data security – enabling them to grow rapidly. In the coming years, we aim to leave an impact beyond the MENA region.
Being a successful leader, please share your views on the current business scenarios across globe after Covid19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has pushed us like every other business to go digital and online. With this, came a huge demand for content creation and localization – perhaps more than ever before. As a result, we’ve actually witnessed overall growth for the business in 2020, with more customers needing content.
Having our own cloud-based technologies helps us transition smoothly. Our linguists continued working using TMS, which provides a central platform for the end-to-end translation cycle. The whole team can manage projects, translate, edit, and finalize all translations on the TMS with easy in-platform communication and dashboards.
Why is it said that the workforce plays a vital role in every business’s growth? Please tell us about your team.
I always make sure that the work is meaningful and valuable equally for everyone in the company. Ensuring that your talents know the company’s purpose & vision and what their role is in attaining is crucial. When employees are doing work with purpose, they are working more passionately and happily, this is what makes our tech team a successful one.
And the key to growth is having the right people and investing in them in line with their business.
While forming our team, I paid great attention to making sure we chose individuals who are passionate in their field of expertise, wherever they are in the world. Thus, we ensured that everyone works with the same passion and dedication in all scenarios that may occur while the company is growing. Our team is the key to Tarjama’s success.
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
I’m an entrepreneur in the localization and translation technology space. I’m the Founder and CEO of Tarjama, a provider of smart language solutions that houses a full range of language capabilities and technologies supporting 55+ languages. I’m also the Founder and Chairwoman of Ureed.com, a digital marketplace connecting global employers with over 55,000 certified freelancers. She’s currently managing the hyper-growth of the companies in 8 markets and leading a team of over 300 colleagues.
What are the key achievements of your business journey?
Tarjama’s neural machine translation technology, which is accessed through T-Portal, is built on professional Arabic high-quality pre-approved data (not crowdsourced) Using Arabic data across over 200 industries and in-depth knowledge of language structures, Tarjama’s NMT models deliver high-quality translations that we can tailor for specific industries & sectors.
‘Innovation is the key to business growth’, Please share your views.
In today’s world, I can’t even imagine growth without innovation, especially with the digitalization accelerated by the pandemic.
It is not enough to have a good business idea if you want to stand out in the changing and accelerating world, to stand out from your competitors, and to maintain your place in the market. In order to keep up with the evolving needs of customers and stay competitive, you must make innovation a part of your business model and growth strategy.
Any client experience you would like to highlight?
We did a very successful project for Madrasa – an online e-learning platform. We transcreated 5,000 Arabic instructional videos for them within a record time of one year. The client provided us with English videos that needed to be localized and transcreated into Arabic to increase their reach to Arabic-speaking students. Adapting highly technical content into Arabic for a younger audience was a challenge that Tarjama took on so well.
Each video went through a multi-layer process to be transcreated – scriptwriting, content localization, video production, audio engineering, VO recording, design adaptation, and testing. Our team used its subject-level expertise, accuracy, creativity, and speed to deliver an Arabized educational experience for our client’s platform. The client was able to reach 1 million students with the transcreated videos within 6 months of publishing.