With the launch of Google Translate back in 2007, humanity has never been closer to achieving the Universal Translator concept popularized in science fiction like Doctor Who and Star Trek. Now, Panasonic is releasing a prototype megaphone in Japan that will instantly translate what is said into it (in Japanese) into English, Chinese, and Korean as well. Panasonic’s “Megahonyaku,” which is a combination of “megaphone” and “translation” in Japanese, will be tested by employees at Tokyo Narita International Airport. Tokyo Narita is one of the busiest airports in the country, so employees will have plenty of chances to make multi-lingual announcements with the tool.
[Image: Narita Airport]
The translation technology the device uses is reminiscent of Google Translate, with whatever is said into the megaphone then repeated in the three other languages by a computerized voice. Seeing as the device looks like someone fused a tablet to the top of a Panasonic megaphone, the software running the translation process can’t be too far removed from the one Google runs. Take a look at the video on this Japanese page, which showcases the device in action.
Japan will play host to the Summer Olympic Games in 2020, and the ability to easily communicate with people of different cultures quickly and efficiently will become a necessity in many airports and public areas. This would also be a good reason to assume the product will include more languages than the initial three after it gets run through its paces at the Tokyo Narita International Airport.
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Featured Image: Mainichi.jp