NTT DOCOMO, INC. announced that it has launched a free trial of Tegaki Hon’yakuTM, a translation application that allows users to write on the screen of a smartphone or tablet and have their words translated between Japanese and four other languages. Customer feedback will be incorporated into the service ahead of a commercial launch scheduled to happen by the end of this year.
Tegaki Hon’yaku leverages DOCOMO’s translation servers and MyScript’s handwriting recognition technology to convert handwritten English, French, Korean and simplified Chinesenotice to Japanese and vice versa. The application also has an illustration function that enables users to communicate by drawing, a useful feature for annotating translations with maps or other visual aids that would be difficult to explain in words. By offering the service in conjunction with existing services Hanashite Hon’yakuTM, which translates spoken language, and Utsushite Hon’yakuTM, which scans and translates printed language, DOCOMO aims to offer a comprehensive translation service for smoother multilingual communication.
As part of the trial and in collaboration with Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation, DOCOMO has installed Tegaki Hon’yaku on the tablets used by guides and concierges at the Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal. Until November 30, the staff will have the assistance of Tegaki Hon’yaku in giving directions and explaining airport facilities to foreign visitors.
The Tegaki Hon’yaku trial is not restricted to DOCOMO customers. Any Google PlayTM customers with an account registered in Japan or the U.S. may download the application on their mobile device running AndroidTM 4.3 or later.
DOCOMO has been taking the initiative in developing technologies for natural multilingual communications and will continue to offer advanced translation services.