Robot Translators Are Coming To Japan
Next time you go to Japan, your communication troubles (if you ever had such) would be over. Kinki Nippon Tourist and the tech firm FueTrek are partnering up to bring translation robots to life and make navigating the city that much easier for non Japanese speaking newcomers.
As yearly as the beginning of next year, small robots, tablet computers and wearable devices will be at your service to help understand the local language.
The mini-devices will be a great help to a large number of companies in the service industry, like hotels, restaurants and other small businesses, especially with the staff not having sufficient English language skills to communicate with foreigners.
Additionally, FueTrek offers a number of services in the files of speech recognition, machine translation and text-to-speech technologies, with a wide range of potential applications.
It’s not yet clear how the robots will work precisely, nor how much an eager traveler would be asked to pay for such an improvement in communication. One thing is clear, though, tech and tourism seem to have found each other in Japan and we should probably expect even more innovation in the coming months.
With the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan growing steadily and rapidly (around two million in July 2015), this may also be sooner than later.
Not everyone is in favor of the idea, though, with some officials voicing their concerns that this would discourage tourists from trying to get the basics of the Japanese language down. Whatever might be the case, the robot translators may be a small yet significant step into our traveling future. With tech, as always, by our side.