Innovation That Matters

Japan translates tourist info with connected megaphone


Panasonic is providing multi-lingual translation for many of Japan’s public spaces and tourist destinations using a connected megaphone.

Called Megahonyaku, Panasonic’s connected megaphone translates Japanese into Chinese, Korean and English. Preset with 300 phrases, users can select different words for different combinations of information. There are 1,800 phrase patterns available and more can be added. The megaphone can be customized to the venue or occasion, with users uploading new phrases and words via the cloud. The pre-set phrases can also be adapted if needed.

The translation service will be available from 20 December 2016 across a range of venues, including airports, train stations, stadiums and theme parks. Japan’s Ministry of Tourism says that the number of visitors to the country is growing each year, and the growth is expected to continue. Additionally, Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020, an event the country is no doubt already planning for.

Spurred on in part by the continued popularity of travel, and by the unprecedented numbers of immigrants, migrants and refugees moving between countries, translation apps and devices are getter smarter, more responsive and necessary. Seoul City offered cash prizes to people who spotted translation errors on street signs, and this app provides real-time auto-translation between four languages. Are there ways that similar ideas could help speed up business translations in situations like large United Nations meetings?



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