Foreign types, are you sick of having to pander to lazy English-only speakers? Lazy English-only types, are you sick of struggling to make yourself understood to foreign types? Well as luck would have it, Japan’s NTT Docomo has recently wheeled out a tongue-taming solution to stop you getting lost in translation.
An Android app that converts spoken Japanese to Mandarin Chinese, Korean and English and vice-versa in almost real time, perfect translations are, as yet, not exactly the end result, but for basic conversation it does the job perfectly well; just don’t go ordering any important parts for your Large Hadron Collider or, if you’re Iran, those nuclear weapons you’re not building.
With French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai languages to follow, the somewhat unfortunately named Hanashite Hon’yaku app was unveiled at CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) earlier this month and is set to be launched on November 1st. Naturally, with the app being network-owned, callers have to subscribe to one of Docomo’s packages, which keeps it firmly out of the hands of the western world for the moment, but with the likes of Lexifone, Alacatel-Lucent and Microsoft all working on similar apps, awkward international interchanges could soon be a thing of the past.