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Software firm releases Burmese phrase book

Chunichi Shimbun

Software developer Daiichi Computer Resource Co. has compiled a book of common Burmese expressions titled “Active Myanmar” that can also be downloaded on cellphones.

The Nagoya-based company has established an office specializing in software development in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city and commercial hub, and the phrases in the book are taken from DCR’s business dealings in the rapidly developing country.

Designed for use on cellphones, the book contains the largest selection of Burmese vocabulary currently available for Japanese users.

“We hope it will prove useful for the increasing number of people visiting Myanmar to do business,” a DCR employee said.

Founded in 2008, DCR was the first Japanese IT firm to open a software development center in Myanmar. The book’s final draft was handed to a Thai firm with experience in publishing guide books to add the finishing touches.

The book, which measures a handy 15 cm by 10 cm, contains some 4,000 Burmese words frequently used in daily life.

The entries are organized based on the 50 hiragana characters, while the correct pronunciation is provided in katakana. The vocabulary is grouped under different settings, such as going shopping or visiting a hospital, and each includes usage examples.

In some locations, customers can purchase a set that contains tracer pens. By tracing a word with the pen, a built-in speaker plays a recording read by a native Burmese speaker playing the role of a company employee.

More and more Japanese businesspeople are visiting Myanmar to tap its potentially hugely lucrative market since the country embarked on a democratization and economic liberalization drive. But there are still few books available on Burmese.

“I actually rely on this book in Myanmar to make sure I’m using certain expressions correctly,” said Masahiko Koyabashi, general manager of a DCR subsidiary in the country. People who visit Myanmar usually hire interpreters, but I hope they’ll use this book themselves.”

“Active Myanmar” is available online from Amazon.com and Rakuten Inc. priced at ¥2,100. Plans are also under way to release an audio version as a smartphone application.

This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the daily Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published Dec. 22.