tech

Docomo to introduce mobile translation of conversations and signage

5 Comments

NTT Docomo Inc on Tuesday announced that on Nov 1 it will launch the world’s first commercial mobile service for translation of conversations between people speaking Japanese and other languages, called Hanashite Honyaku (automatic voice translation service). Docomo also announced the October 11 launch of Utsushite Honyaku (AR translator with word recognition camera), which translates foreign menus and signage by simply placing a smartphone camera in front of text.

Hanashite Honyaku provides translations between Japanese and the receiver’s language, currently English, Chinese or Korean. Translations are provided both as screen text and voice readouts. The Docomo subscriber simply dials the other party using an Android app for Docomo smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 or higher. Calls can be placed to any mobile or landline phone, either in Japan or overseas.

Hanashite Honyaku also can be used for face-to-face conversations in which the two speakers share one smartphone. French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai will be added for this application in late November, raising the number of non-Japanese languages to 10.

Fast and accurate translations are possible with any smartphone, regardless of device specifications, because Hanashite Honyaku utilizes Docomo’s cloud for processing.

The app will be available free of charge. Users pay call and data charges for phone-to-phone conversations and translation data for screen text and voice readouts. Only data charges apply for face-to-face conversations,since no call is required. Subscription to Docomo’s “sp-mode” or “moperaU” connection service is required.

Utsushite Honyaku translates short written text between Japanese and either English, Chinese or Korean. Translation is virtually instantaneous after the device’s camera captures the text. This commercial version of Menu Translator, which Docomo is trialing in Japan until Oct 31, will translate words and phrases not only in menus, but also street signs, signboards and more. Translation from Japanese also is possible, so Docomo expects the app to be quite useful for foreign people visiting Japan.

The Utsushite Honyaku app will be available free for download (data charges may apply). Usage will not incur any transmission fee since the translation process does not require network connection. It can be used on any smartphone or tablet equipped with an outer camera and running Android 2.3 or higher.

© Japan Today

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5 Comments
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You can not use Chinese Language. Chinese language is the property of China. If you use then the foreign Minister would complaint to UN for stealing the language of China.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

LOL. Because you can't already do this with Google Translate, right?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Love it when those carriers introduce some high-tech gadget to Japanese users that already is in use for a year and more to normal folks across the planet. And yes, it's called Google.

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Brilliant.. have been working on this for a number of years.. but with complete instant translation via phone.. a translation box tied to the edge of your network - with mobile and landline. Now i'll just become a third party distributor.. Japanese are great

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This seems to be a text-to-speech engine plugged into the translation engine and a character recognition engine. I thought Google's was only a translation engine? And I'm not even sure Google's was among the first available for free...

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