Fee bearing image – Cape Town – 140220 – Glenn Stein, 25 and CTO of his company Speak Mobile developed a mobile phone app called AweZA that can translate local languages and dialects by sharing voice recordings. Reporter: Zolan Youngs. Photographer: Armand Hough


Inspired by his vision of communicating with all South Africans, Glenn Stein, 24, has created an app that provides translations for the nation’s 11 official languages. The app has been recognised by the World Design Capital (WDC).


The free app, Aweza, was made available for Android phones recently.

The app provides users with 18 conversation topics, including “socialising”, “directions”, “health”, “greetings” and “emergency”.

The app then lists common phrases within the topic. Users select the language they need to speak and it provides a readable translation.


An audio component is also incorporated that serves the purpose of specifically improving linguistic skill.

Users record a phrase in the language they want to learn, which is submitted to a universal database that other Aweza users rate on pronunciation.

To learn the languages, Stein is focused on getting as many people to submit recordings to the database as possible. He noticed a significant spread of awareness when WDC recognised the app as a “Bridging the Divide” project.

“I understood the importance of how (knowing a language) can completely help you break through cultural barriers,” he said