Ever since Russia launched an attack on Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians have been displaced and forced to take refuge in other countries. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have found shelter in the Netherlands. Extending assistance to the victims of the war-ravaged nation, a Leeuwarden-based company has built a free web-based translator to help them communicate with their Dutch hosts.
“I thought there would be an app for this, but I couldn’t find any,” Siebrand Dijkstra, CEO of AppMachine, the company behind the project, told the Leeuwarder Courant. So Dijkstra and his team set about creating a simple, user-friendly translator which any Ukrainian refugee with access to the internet could use. Remarkably, the developers managed to build the app in just two weeks.
Of course, a plethora of other translation apps, such as Google Translate, were already available on various platforms, but they were not very user-friendly, according to Dijkstra. Also, the alternatives do not always support Dutch and Ukrainian, especially voice file translations.
“We’ve created a website that can translate a conversation live,” Dijkstra says.
The site is called Pryv.it, which means “Hello!” in Ukrainian. Unlike other similar applications, Pryv.it lets you have real time communication on multiple devices, which can be very handy in certain situations. Up to fifteen people can participate in a conversation. The participants scan a QR code and immediately see a translation of their chat. Conveniently, the app also offers an option of a one-to-one conversation on a single device, if that is your preference.
The website does not require any registration. All conversations are encrypted, private and secure; they are not stored on any servers, the company says, meaning that nobody on the internet can read or listen to them. “Only the people you invite can take part in the chats,” Dijkstra points out.
At the moment, Pryv.it supports translation into the Ukrainian, Dutch and English languages. But Dijkstra hopes to make the technology available also in other languages, for example to help refugees who fled the Syrian conflict.