Business / Corporate

Yamaha releases app that 'translates' engine sounds

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

First came the dog-interpretation gadget, Bowlingual. Now a Japanese company is offering humans a way to understand another nonhuman species: engines.

Major motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha Motor Co. released on Wednesday the Rev Translator app, which supposedly translates engine sounds into Japanese. The company is planning to add English in the future.

A first of its kind, the free app enables users to “translate” the sound of engines into more than 100 million combinations of Japanese lines, according to the firm, which is based in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Yamaha spokesman Tetsuya Tadachi said the company came up with the app based on its brand slogan “Revs your Heart.”

“We’d like people to get excited and have fun” with the app, Tadachi said. Using it involves holding a smartphone over an engine to get a translation of what the engine is purportedly trying to say. Tadachi said he hopes the app can help people feel closer to their engines.

The app can be employed with engine sounds on various vehicles, including motorcycles, cars, boats, four-wheel drive buggies and snowplows, according to the spokesman. It can even be used on electricity generators.

The app takes a few seconds to provide a translation, Tadachi said. It takes into account the time of day and the weather as well as the unique personality of the engine.

“If the engine sound is harsh, the mood of the translated texts will be angry, and if the sound is softer, the mood will be warm and fuzzy,” he said.

Sample messages from the application include: “I’ve been alive and kicking since the morning!! I’ve been looking forward so much to this moment when I can talk to you. Now I don’t know what to do.”