Increased presence of foreign nationals in Japan
The number of foreign visitors and residents in Japan continues to increase. In 2015, Japan welcomed 19 million visitors from overseas. This increased to 28 million in 2017. With the upcoming Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the number of foreign visitors is expected to reach 40 million in 2020, resulting in travel expenditure of up to 8 trillion yen. It is not only the number of tourists that is increasing. The number of foreign nationals living and working in Japan is also growing steadily. A challenge that has grown in importance along with this trend is the creation of environments that enable multilingual communication.
This is not just simple translation. Toppan is undertaking the mission of providing multilingual communication services to communicate the beauty of Japan and alleviate the concerns of non-Japanese speakers.
Why is Toppan doing this?
You may be wondering why Toppan, a printing company with more than 100 years of history, is taking on the challenge of multilingual communication.
First of all, the purpose of printing is to communicate information. Toppan was founded more than 100 years ago. At that time in Japan, printing was needed to record and communicate information, and it was based on the premise that both the providers and the receivers of the information were Japanese.
However, in today's globalized era, understanding foreign languages and communicating with foreigners have become increasingly important. In order to inform the world about Japan and enable people in Japan to understand what is happening in the world, Toppan is undertaking a multilingual communication business.
Toppan's tradition and track record in the field of communication mean that our efforts in multilingual communication have a certain significance.
Multilingual translation service to communicate the beauty of Japan
Here are some of the multilingual communication services that Toppan is offering:
To communicate the beauty of Japan, the "TABIDO" (The Way of Travel) service was developed based on the concept of shaping Japan into a country to which visitors want to return. It helps foreign visitors learn about the how-tos and customs of Japan by supporting research, learning, speaking, and purchasing to make their time in Japan more enjoyable.
The TABIDO® platform, which contains tourism content from regions throughout Japan, is used as a hub to provide consistent support for developing sightseeing destinations to stimulate inbound tourism and regional revitalization.
"Japalingual" is a translation service for inbound tourism-related documents combining machine translation and correction by professionals. In contrast to a general translation service that requires time, cost, and labor, Japalingual offers a quick and affordable one-stop online translation service from order to delivery. It is a service that only Toppan, an expert in technology-based efficiency enhancement and highly accurate translation by professionals, can offer.
Multilingual communication service to alleviate the concerns of non-Japanese speakers
Communicating the beauty of Japan is not the only purpose of multilingual communication. For foreign nationals living in Japan, there are many areas of concern, including the language barrier and administrative procedures. Toppan is committed to eliminating these problems with services that facilitate multilingual communication.
As the number of foreigners working in Japan increases, the number of foreign children attending local schools is also increasing. However, it is not always the case that foreign children and their parents can communicate in Japanese, and schools have limited resources to accommodate multiple languages.
Toppan's "VoiceBiz" is the solution for situations such as these. When a user inputs speech or text into a dedicated application for smartphone or tablet, it automatically generates a translation and outputs speech or text. Adopting a high-precision translation technology developed in Japan, proper nouns and standard phrases specific for schools are pre-installed. Besides use in the educational setting, this easy-to-use service with end-users in mind can offer customized speech translation for various other industries.
Toppan has also launched an R&D initiative for the first speech translation system in the country that aids in facilitating the administrative services of local governments. Administrative procedures are challenging for foreigners living in Japan. Although local governments are making efforts to accommodate foreign languages, such language services are not necessarily being provided in a timely manner. For this reason, Toppan is researching speech translation to enable foreigners to feel comfortable at local administrative offices.
The results of these R&D efforts will not only benefit local governments but also help to develop speech translation systems for commercial facilities and financial institutions and can be applied to various scenarios, such as healthcare and response to disasters. Such a future is just around the corner.
A multilingual world enabled by Toppan
In this way, Toppan is undertaking various initiatives to eliminate the language barrier between Japanese people and foreign visitors and residents. However, there are still a number of areas that need attention in order to achieve this, including communication, signage, restaurant menus, administrative procedures, and various documents.
Creating a foreigner-friendly multilingual environment has become an important and urgent matter due to the growing number of foreign residents already living in Japan. With the increase in opportunities to communicate with foreigners presented by the Olympic and Paralympic Games, these efforts will attract even more attention. Because communication has always been Toppan's focus, we will provide multilingual communication services with a variety of applications. You can look forward to the future of communication with Toppan.