In collaboration with FEAT Limited (hereafter FEAT; head office Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; President: Miyuki Okuyama), Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. (hereafter Toppan Printing; head office: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo; President & Representative Director: Shingo Kaneko) is conducting research and development of Japan’s first speech translation system for use at local government offices as a part of a five-year (fiscal 2015—2019) research project commissioned by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (hereafter NICT; President: Hideyuki Tokuda).
One outcome of this research is the provision of NhaTra, a free speech translation app for Vietnamese speakers. The main purposes of the provision of the app are to promote awareness of speech translation of Japanese and Vietnamese and establish environments that support introduction of the technology to local government organizations and other elements of society.
Before traveling to Japan, Vietnamese speakers can download the NhaTra app onto their smartphone and use it as a tool for learning Japanese. After arriving in Japan, they can familiarize themselves with using the speech translation function as a communication tool for all aspects of everyday life.
Vietnam has a close relationship with Japan and plays an important role in supporting the Japanese economy. The number of people coming to Japan from Vietnam for sightseeing, work, study, and other purposes is increasing significantly. It is therefore necessary for various sectors in Japan to promptly establish environments that can readily cater to such visitors.
Potential users and usage settings
・Vietnamese speakers in Japan who are experiencing difficulties communicating in Japanese
・Companies employing Vietnamese speakers and Japanese language schools with Vietnamese students
Potential usage settings
1. Communication at the reception and service desks of schools, hospitals, police stations, post offices, and other public institutions as well as at restaurants, convenience stores, estate agents, and the service counters of a wide range of other businesses.
2. Communication with people in service businesses that employ Vietnamese speakers in such sectors as construction, nursing care, and agriculture.
・For use on smartphone running iOS 9.3 or later or Android 5 or later.
・App can be downloaded from the App Store or Google play by searching for “NhaTra.”
*Anyone can download the app.
*Operation is not guaranteed on all devices.
・Free of charge (Practical testing period: July 2018—end of March 2019)
Method of use (when used by a Vietnamese speaker)
1. After opening the app and pressing the translation button, the user speaks into the smartphone in Vietnamese. The translated Japanese is then output as speech, and the original Vietnamese and the Japanese translation are displayed on the screen in text form.
2. The phrase to be translated can also be input in text form and output as speech in Japanese.
Through the process of Vietnamese speakers using the NhaTra speech translation app in various settings, new challenges for users of speech translation will be identified. Users will be asked to give feedback on ease of use, level of achievement of their objectives when using the app, frequency of use, and issues with translation accuracy. The information obtained will then be used to improve the app and aid research and development targeting more widespread use.
* The information in this press release is current as of the date of publication and is subject to change without notice.