The East Japan Railway Co. is making a proactive service to people with hearing impairment when it tested on Monday a sign language program through an iPad videophone application. JR East plans to set up the service in 12 booths at seven of its stations in the Tokyo area. The railway company had also used writing system in the past to assist passengers with hearing impairment.
Passengers with hearing impairment will be accommodated through the information booths where the videophone application allows the use of sign language and inquiry to a call-centre operator. The operator will then make the verbal relay of the passenger’s inquiry to a JR information guide. When the needed information is already obtained, sign language will be used to provide the passenger with the answer. “The new simultaneous interpretation service makes communication smooth,” said an information booth guide at the Shinagawa Station.
According to the railway company, the booths will be open daily from 9AM until 5PM in the following stations: Akihabara, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Ueno. East Japan Railway Company will keep the seven stations until March next year. JR East said they also consider setting up information booths in other stations. Besides accommodating passengers with hearing impairment, JR East also considers the videophone application to be used for non-Japanese passengers where they will have operators who speak Chinese, English, and Korean.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan