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Real-time translation of phone conversations launched in Japan

Written By Sansation on Monday, 22 October 2012 | 03:49

Japan's biggest mobile service provider NTT DoCoMo revealed on Monday that it launched a real-time phone translation service letting people chat over the phone in several different languages while their conversations are translated in real-time. The innovative service will give 2-way voice and text readouts of conversations between Japanese speakers and those talking in English, Chinese or Korean with a few seconds delay to allow the system to process the data.

"Hanashite Honyaku" will be a free application that can be used on Android, iPhone and Samsung's bada OS. Consumers will also be able to call land lines using the same app. Woice-to-text readouts will be available in French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai in the upcoming weeks as well.

"We hope that with this application, our subscribers will be able to widen the range of their communication," an NTT DoCoMo spokeswoman said. However, she conceded the service does not offer perfect translations and has trouble deciphering some dialects, but much is being done to improve the service step-by-step. DoCoMo also said it has launched a separate service that lets users translate menus and signage using the smartphone camera.
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