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NTT DoCoMo starts automatic voice call translation service

updated 01:37 pm EDT, Mon October 1, 2012

Japanese carrier also releasing AR translation app

Japan's NTT DoCoMo is set to launch the world's first Android-based commercial mobile service for conversation translation. Hanashite Hon'yaku provides automatic voice translations between Japanese and another of three languages, with results not only being displayed on-screen, but read out to each side of the conversation as by a voice synthesizer.

Japanese calls can be translated into English, Chinese, or Korean, while an extra mode for face-to-face conversations, where the two speakers share the same smartphone, adds an extra seven languages. The app will be free of charge to download, however calls and data used for the service will be charged, and will require a subscription to DoCoMo's sp-mode or moperaU services.

A companion app, Utsushite Hon'yaku, will translate written text between Japanese and English, Chinese, or Korean. As an augmented reality translator, it will translate signs and menus in-camera, in a manner similar to existing AR translator Word Lens. Just like Hanashite Hon'yaku, it is a free app to download, but as everything is performed on-handset, there are no extra data charges.

The Hanashite Hon'yaku service will begin on November 1st, and the Utsushite Hon'yaku app will be available to download from October 11. [via Far East Gizmos]



By Electronista Staff
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