Panasonic, JTB to test automated translation service for foreign tourists


Electronics giant Panasonic Corp. and travel agency JTB Corp. are to begin testing a cloud-based machine translation service for tourists, sources said Saturday.

They aim to launch the service on a commercial basis in fiscal 2018, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, sources said. The service will initially offer translations into English, Chinese and Korean, but the number of languages will rise to about 10 by 2020.

The firms will begin testing the service in July by setting up a 20-inch 4K ultrahigh-definition display at hotels with ties with JTB, including Kagaya, a traditional Japanese-style hotel at the Wakura Onsen spa resort in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture. The staff and guests will use the system to communicate because it can swiftly translate their conversations, the sources said.

Panasonic and JTB are also considering working together on setting up charging stations for electric vehicles.