NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile services provider, has just unveiled an Android app that translates phone conversations from Japanese to ten other languages including English, Mandarin, Korean, French, and German. The app’s purpose is to allow parties to communicate directly in their native languages.
The app, called Hanashite Han’yaku, was showcased in the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies or CEATEC, Japan’s largest tech exhibit held earlier this month. The app translates the user’s voice message after a slight pause and provides a text version as well. DoCoMo envisions that this will be useful in cases like meetings over the phone, reducing the costs involved in hiring a specialized translator. The app may also be useful for tourism. DoCoMo is a recent addition to the roster of companies such as Lexifone, Vocre, Alcatel-Lucent, and Microsoft who are jumping into the field of telephone translations.
DoCoMo claims that any Android smartphone is capable of supporting the app, regardless of the device’s hardware specification. The translations are provided by DoCoMo’s cloud service, which it also unveiled in CEATEC. Users must still subscribe to one of DoCoMo’s packages to avail of the feature. The service, however, is still unable to provide completely accurate translations, which may limit its uses in some cases. DoCoMo plans to launch the app on November 1 this year.
[ via BBC ]