NTT DOCOMO, an integrated-services Japanese company centered on mobility is scheduled to launch a commercial mobile service for translation of conversations between people speaking Japanese and other languages, called Hanashite Hon’yaku (automatic voice translation service) today.
Hanashite Hon’yaku provides translations between Japanese and the receiver’s language, currently English, Chinese or Korean. Translations are provided both as screen text and voice readouts.The DOCOMO subscriber simply dials the other party using an Android app for DOCOMO smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 or higher. Calls can be placed to any mobile or landline phone, either in Japan or overseas.
The app can be used for face-to-face conversations in which the two speakers share one smartphone. French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai will be added for this application in late November, raising the number of non-Japanese languages to 10.
Instead of making a call through the standard phone app, users select a contact through Hanashite Hon’yaku if they will be talking to a foreign language speaker. The app then automatically detects what languages are being spoken before providing instant text translations.
The app will be available for free. Users pay call and data charges for phone-to-phone conversations and translation data for screen text and voice readouts. Only data charges apply for face-to-face conversations,since no call is required.
Hanashite Hon’yaku will be made available to Android users from today as a free download.