In the United States, a recent trial release by AT&T allows English-speaking customers to speak with Spanish-speaking customers in real-time with a text translation app. The technology is sure to bridge common language barriers in the United States. Because Japan has similar language issues in their country, they have developed a very similar app called the DoCoMo Translation App. Since the app was developed in Japan, one member of the conversation needs to be speaking Japanese to use the translation services. The other member of the conversation can be speaking one of thirteen other available languages available for translation with the app.
The App Works in Two Modes
Unlike the text translation app released by AT&T in the United States, the DoCoMo translation app has two modes of use. The first mode is the text translation, similar to the AT&T version. Users can see their texting conversations translated in real time, and they can check to make sure their text has been translated properly. This is much more convenient that reverting to translator services such as Google translate to have a conversation with someone that speaks another language. Additionally, users can actually have translated spoken conversations over the phone. There is a two-second lag time for each translated phrase, but this delay is nothing compared to other translation options. Users also won’t know if their phrase has been translated the way they intended, so there’s some room for error.
Still in Development to Correct Errors
While the translation in the conversation mode is decent, it wouldn’t be recommended for important calls or business meetings. Even though it will get some phrases correct, the uncertainty about whether or not your sentence was translated correctly is enough to prevent many people from using it. Until these errors are fixed and there is a better chance that each translation will be correct, the conversation translation is not ideal for important talks. For serious conversations, a professional translator would be a more sound choice.
Once the DoCoMo translation app has corrected some of its errors, it will be an excellent travel companion or even a perfect tool for people anywhere in the world hosting Japanese guests. However, if you’re working on a multi-million dollar business deal with people from Japan, you should still always look into professional translation services before using a Smartphone app, because the threshold for error will always be high.