Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Dubai startup helps AI-voice cloning take centre stage

Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja. Her film 'Three' is currently being shown in UAE theatres in Mandarin using's AI translation programme Wam
Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja. Her film 'Three' is being shown in UAE theatres in Mandarin using's AI translation programme
  • tool supports 120 languages
  • Creators see end of language barrier
  • New markets for sports and entertainment

A YouTube video released in January of Novak Djokovic shows the tennis star speaking fluent Spanish at a post-match press conference. 

While the Serbian champion is renowned for speaking several languages, in this case his voice was created by an artificial intelligence tool developed by a Dubai-based startup,

The original Djokovic footage was taken at the Australian Open tennis tournament. Organisers also used the translation software developed by to create simulated lip movements for other players speaking a range of languages, such as Coco Gauff and Daniil Medvedev.

Showcased during the tournament’s “demo day”, the results garnered mixed reactions from commentators, with one saying it was “creeping me out”.

Traditionally, companies relied on tools such as Google Translate to handle speech-to-text conversion followed by text-to-speech conversion to allow people to communicate in languages other than their native tongue.

“This approach often fell short in capturing the intricacies of human speech, resulting in robotic outputs similar to outdated technology,” said co-founder Akshat Prakash. CEO Avneesh Prakash highlights the difficulties faced by content creators in reaching broader audiences due to translation barriers.

“Content creators, especially Arabs, are increasing and getting more aspirational and want to get out of the region – they want to go global. However, language is a barrier since many do not understand Arabic,” he said.

In response, new advancements in AI technology such as video translation tools have emerged. Creators can now dub, lip sync and even clone their voices in various languages, opening new horizons for content localisation and global audiences. has collaborated with Nayla Al Khaja, the UAE’s first female Emirati film director, to release her movie Three in multiple languages.

The AI “generates dialogues in over 120 languages and accents, using the voices of the artists,” said Al Khaja.

“The significance of using AI in an independent film to amplify cinematic narrative cannot be overstated, as it becomes the catalyst for unlocking new horizons for films and entertainment,” she told AGBI.

The technology is currently being used to show Al Khaja’s film in Mandarin in theatres in the UAE.

Democratising language

Funded by the Dubai Future District Fund, offers foundational models in text-to-speech and language translation through voice cloning. In the case of the Australian Open it delivered the outcome in under 12 hours during the tournament.

Its platform supports over 120 languages including many Arabic dialects. 

“We intend to democratise language access, whether recorded, archived, or streamed, making alternate language selection a matter of choice rather than privilege,” says Akshat.

With over 7,000 languages spoken globally, each with its own dialects, bridging linguistic gaps is a daunting task.

In regions like the Middle East, Arabic may be the dominant language but there are dozens of dialects and millions of unique words so the challenge is higher. 

However, the integration of AI in language translation has sparked ethical and privacy issues, raising questions about concerns and data privacy.

“Organisations must prioritise ownership, privacy and data protection, ensuring that individuals rights are respected,” adds Avneesh.

Latest articles

Adnoc sought advice from investment banks on buying a significant stake in BP, a media report said

UAE’s Adnoc explored acquiring BP

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) explored the possibility of acquiring British oil major BP but abandoned the plan as it did not fit into its strategic growth objectives, a media report said.  The talks did not advance beyond the initial stages, Reuters reported, citing informed sources.  The UAE state oil company also sought advice […]

Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

An artist's impression of part of the Diriyah Square development

Diriyah Square planned for historic Riyadh district

A public space featuring 400 retail outlets and 100 restaurants and cafes is planned for the historic Riyadh district of Diriyah. Diriyah Square will be announced next week at the World Retail Congress in Paris and aims to attract a combination of international retail brands and local artisans.  Diriyah Gate Development Authority group CEO Jerry […]

Turkish crude steel output rose 25% year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January

Turkish steel in the black but EU rules rankle

Turkey’s steel industry has rebounded strongly from a weak 2023, despite facing new emissions standards and competition for important markets.  Crude steel output rose 25 percent year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January, with domestic consumption of finished steel reaching 3.5 million tonnes, a 20 percent increase.  Exports were also up, increasing 23 […]