Travel: Multilingual smartphone app to help bullet train passengers

(From Asahi Shimbun)

Confused foreign tourists in Japan’s hectic Shinkansen train stations will receive a helping hand with the often bewildering rail travel experience here courtesy of a smartphone app that translates station announcements into texts in several languages.

Transcriptions of common announcements at railway stations are demonstrated with “Omotenashi Guide” app in English, right, and Chinese, center, and Japanese. (Tomohiro Yamamoto)

Transcriptions of common announcements at railway stations are demonstrated with “Omotenashi Guide” app in English, right, and Chinese, center, and Japanese. (Tomohiro Yamamoto)

Yamaha Corp., famous for producing pianos and audiovisual equipment, is developing the app that can receive public announcements in text form using special signal technology that does not rely on the Internet or telecommunication networks.

The company is to try out the app through a series of trials in Tokyo, Hamamatsu and Kyoto Stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, places all bustling with foreign visitors, especially in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when the government anticipates that more than 20 million people from overseas will come. Read more



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