NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier, has announced the upcoming availability of an automatic voice call translation service. Called Hanashite Hon’yaku, the service will debut on November 1 as “the world’s first commercial mobile service for translation of conversations between people speaking Japanese and other languages.”
The new service works this way: you make a call using a special Hanashite Hon’yaku app, talk in Japanese, and the person on the other end receives the translation – either as voice readout, or as translated text. The app can be also used in live conversations for translation, and you’ll only need one phone for this. At the moment, translations in three languages are available: English, Chinese, and Korean. Starting late November, other languages will be added, including: French, German, Italian, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.
The Hanashite Hon’yaku app will be free, working with Android smartphones and tablets that run 2.2 Froyo or later.
Another app, called Utsushite Hon’yaku and available starting October 11, will translate “short written text between Japanese and either English, Chinese or Korean.” The app’s requirements are Android 2.3, and a camera on the back of your device.
Via Press release
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