The testing of a “smart” Panasonic megaphone which translates the speech into other languages began in Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. The device is called Megaphoneyaku: from the English megaphone and Japanese yaku (‘translation’).
Externally, the device looks like a normal megaphone with a PHABLET at the top. According to its main principle of action, it is similar to translation applications, which are used in modern smartphones. The user simply utters the words into a megaphone and a clever device immediately translates and voices ads in the selected language. Initially, megaphone supports translation to/from English, Chinese and Korean.
The idea of creating such a megaphone appeared after the floods of 2014, when many foreign tourists were literally trapped in the Tokyo airport. The airport personnel found it difficult to inform the people about changes in the flight schedule and the places where water and food were available. For such situations, they developed a universal translation device.
Earlier this year, the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Panasonic Corporation, and the telecommunications giant NTT announced the development of a special mobile service specifically for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, 2020. Having installed it on a smartphone or a tablet PC, residents and visitors will be able to receive fast and accurate voice translations from nine world languages into Japanese. The application can be especially popular during the Olympics, when the number of foreigners in Japan will increase many times. In 2015, the Ministry intends to invest around 1.4 billion yen ($11.8 million) in the development of mobile applications; similar budgets are planned for the next four years.