Japan’s biggest mobile operator, NTT Docomo, have launched a new app that allows real-time translation enabling Japanese to speak to foreigners over the phone with both users speaking in their native tongue.
The Hanashite Hon’yaku app is available for Android devices and provides users with voice translation after a slight pause as well as a text readout. The service works with any smartphone as it uses Docomo’s cloud computing service in order to process the translation.
The service will initially convert Japanese to English, Mandarin and Korean with French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai to be added in late November.
It is the latest of a series of similar services to launch with companies such as Lexifone, Vocre, Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft all working on other solutions.
However up to now, no company have really cracked it, meaning that the software still does not offer perfect translations which can limit its use in certain situations.
If you are interested in learning more and seeing a brief video demonstration, go to the BBC website.