Turjuman is a mobile application that was innovated and designed by five Saudi women to serve pilgrims in their languages.
In August last year, five young Saudi women, united with the same ambition and the same challenge, met for the first time in the city of Jeddah, and began working on the idea of an application that serves the pilgrims, and founded a team called “Turjuman” and worked hard for long hours after they have distributed tasks between them.
The young women implemented this idea and defended it before a high-level jury, including experts from Google, Apple, academics and others specialized in artificial intelligence, and won the first place and a prize of one million Saudi riyals in the Hajj Hackathon— a three-day hackathon that aims to use technology and creativity to make the experience of pilgrimage easier and to improve the overall experience. It is organized by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones in partnership with Google.
The good news is that this idea has turned to be a beautiful living experience in the Holy places, as Turjuman helps pilgrims read the signboards in their own language via a scanner without having to use the Internet.
The female team’s winning in the world’s largest technical hackathon drew attention to the abilities of young Saudi women in these advanced sciences.
The team consists of Samaher Al-Hadhli, Raghda Qadhi, Bayan Al-Ghamdi, Rawan Al-Matrafi and Reham Marghalani.
In an interview with Alarabiya.net, Rawan said: “In the beginning, the idea was just a seed that was planted and we are now reaping its first fruits. Success is an indescribable feeling, especially when we are of the female-pioneers in this field. I’d like to thank King Salman and his crown prince for their efforts to empower women and youth as well as encourage entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises to get an ambitious homeland”.
10 Languages and 400 Signboards
Rawan pointed out that the application of “Turjuman” serves so far 10 languages other than Arabic, which are Indonesian, Malay, Filipino, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, French, Russian, Turkish and English, indicating that these languages were initially adopted in the application according to the number of pilgrims coming from this country.
Rawan also explained that the signboard of “Turjuman” exceeds 400 paintings today, distributed in the holy places, Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat, in addition to the Grand Mosque.
Rawan added: “I would like to thank a number of authorities that have cooperated with us including the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Al-Tiwafah organizations, and General Cars Syndicate”.
Challenges and Victories
As in the case of any project, Turjuman application project faces so many difficulties and challenges yet it overcame it. One of the main challenges that faced the team was the need to obtain several licenses and approvals to start work and the installation of Turjuman’s signboards in the holy places.
Rawan also explained that finding competent translators and reviewers, their mother tongue is the language to be translated into, was not easy.
The geographic dimension of the team was one of the biggest challenges, as each team member is in a different city.